A Donegal coroner has described the deaths of two elderly sisters — whose lives had been turned upside down after an aggravated burglary almost three years ago — as a terrible tragedy.

Dr Denis McCauley said the deaths of Susan Arthur, who died on October 11, 2013, and Isabel Arthur, who died last year, were a result of an incident that was “callous, cruel, and unlawful”.

Susan Arthur, aged 89, was knocked to the ground and sustained a fractured hip after intruders broke into the sisters’ house at Feddyglass, Raphoe, on July 1, 2013, an inquest into her death was told in Donegal yesterday.

Having been treated at Letterkenny General Hospital, she was moved to Lifford District Hospital to convalesce, but became unwell and was transferred to Letterkenny where she died in the hospital on October 11, 2013.

The inquest, in Stranorlar, heard that before the incident Susan had had all her faculties and been in good health.

Dr McCauley said that the primary cause of her death was a clot in her left leg that had moved to her lung.

In his summing up, he said the attack on the sisters’ home “had a significant effect on her immediate health”. He said it could not be proved beyond considerable doubt that the assault has caused her death but it contributed to it.

A verdict of death my misadventure was officially recorded regarding Susan.

Isabel, who was 91 at the time of the incident and who was very shaken by the events, had lived all her life with her sister and was then left on her own. She passed away on March 17, 2015.

Dr McCauley expressed his sympathy to the sisters’ nephew, Joe McClean of Craigmore, St Johnston, and said that it was a “terrible tragedy” which should not have happened.

Inspector David Kelly said that while the investigation had been wound down, it was not closed.


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