Tragedy strikes Seaham family three times in three years

The Northern Echo: Love of my life': Dave McCourt Love of my life': Dave McCourt

THE death of a motorcyclist - whose inquest concluded last week - is the third tragedy to strike the family in three years.

Dave McCourt, 52, was killed just two years after his youngest brother Lennie, 44, died in the back of a police van having earlier been pepper sprayed by officers.

The coroner made a series of recommendations to North Yorkshire County Council's highways department after hearing Mr McCourt, of Seaham, County Durham, lost control of his BMW after hitting water on a bend of the A6108 between Reeth and Richmond on September 15, 2012.

The water had been running across the road for about ten months causing other accidents and near misses. A warning sign was lying flat at the time and the inquest heard the council could find no trace of complaints received about the danger.

The family say they have not ruled out legal action against the authority.

Mr McCourt, described as a "safe and competent" motorcyclist was killed while riding with brother Gene and two friends. Earlier that day there had been a memorial service for their mother in Seaham who died on September 10, 2011.

Speaking after the inquest, his partner of 36 years, June Watson, told The Northern Echo his loss had left an unfillable void. The couple had three children together and five grandchildren.

"He was the centre of our world. Everybody loved him and looked up to him and he loved his family - he loved them to bits."

"People say your heart breaks, but it feels like that. It hurts inside physically. His poor dad says he feels like he's slowly dying of a broken heart.

"It was just another day when he went out with his brother and friends.

"Then the police arrived at our house at about 4.30pm and told us that he'd had a fatal accident. I had to compose myself and contact the children before anyone else did.

"I just phoned my son and told him to come down. His sister said "I know what it is" - she thought I was going to tell them her cousin was getting married. They came down full of the joys of spring and arrived to find the police standing there. It was unbelievable.

"I'm learning to live with it but the actual shock is unbelievable. I was with him for 36 years. He was the love of my life. I loved him. You can never get that back."

She said the support of people in Seaham had been phenomenal.

"I knew I had friends, but they have been a massive support," she added.

"It makes us feel really proud that everybody liked him so much."

An inquest jury into the death of Lennie McCourt last November found he died of heart disease precipitated by stress and excess alcohol during the short journey from his home in Ash Crescent, Seaham to Peterlee police station on September 11, 2010.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission detailed a catalogue of failures by police, including officers waiting about nine minutes before trying to resuscitate him.

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