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Four die on roads within 24 hours

Tributes left at the scene of a fatal crash close to Cullybackey in Co-Antrim where two young English soldiers were killed when their car was in collision with a tractor on Friday night

Tributes left at the scene of a fatal crash close to Cullybackey in Co-Antrim where two young English soldiers were killed when their car was in collision with a tractor on Friday night

Two English soldiers killed in a road crash in north Antrim at the weekend were much liked men with fantastic futures ahead of them, military colleagues have said.

Less than 24 hours after the soldiers were killed, a man and a woman travelling in two separate vehicles died in a car crash in Newry.

Lance Corporal David Gwilt, from Bedford, and Rifleman Dale Harris, from Barnsley, died when their car hit a tractor on Friday night.

The 24-year-olds had been serving in the 2nd Battalion The Rifles based in Lisburn.

The soldiers died when their car hit a tractor on the Ballyconnelly Road near Cullybackey.

Another man in the car, aged 21, received head injuries that are not thought to be life-threatening.

A statement issued on behalf of the commanding officer, officers and soldiers of the battalion said: “The tragic deaths of Lance Corporal David Gwilt and Rifleman Dale Harris have come as a tremendous shock to the 2nd Battalion The Rifles.

“David and Dale were much liked, professional and hugely competent soldiers who had fantastic futures ahead of them. The whole battalion is deeply saddened by their loss and our heartfelt condolences go to their families and friends at this most difficult time.”

North Antrim MLA Mervyn Storey also expressed his sympathies.

“This is tragic news. It has shocked the entire community in Cullybackey,” he said.

UUP MLA Robin Swann also extended his condolences to the bereaved families. He said he and a fellow UUP councillor are set to ask for a meeting with the Roads Division “to urgently introduce measures at this Cullybackey area to prevent it from becoming a notorious accident blackspot in the future”.

On Saturday 19-year-old Niall Murphy and 67-year-old Joan Connor (nee Holly) died in a road collision in Newry around 5.25pm.

The collision happened on the Dublin Road when a blue Ford Fiesta and a brown Nissan Qashqai crashed.

A PSNI spokesman said Mrs Connor was originally from Drogheda, Co Louth and Mr Murphy was from the Newry area.

The teenager, who had been driving the Ford car, died at the scene while Mrs Connor, a passenger in the Nissan, died later in hospital.

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the collision to contact them.

Mayor of Newry and Mourne Daire Hughes said “news of further fatalities on our roads has shocked and saddened the entire community and, on their behalf, I extend deepest sympathies to the families of those tragically killed”.

 

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