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Colleagues’ grief over holiday fall tragedy

By Stephen McVey

The director of a South Belfast company who employed a woman who fell to her death whilst on holiday  has spoken of his devastation at her tragic loss. Mother of two Jacqueline McClafferty (41), from North Belfast fell from the third floor of the Poseidon Hotel in the Sunny Beach resort on Saturday June 16.

Jacqueline had worked for the Rosetta based financial company,  Carleton Financial Planning Ltd for 24 years. Patrick Robinson, a director   of the company on Rosetta Road, spoke of his devastation at her loss.

“Jacqueline was an incredibly valued  employee who will be sadly missed by all staff and clients who had met her down the years,” said Patrick.

“She had worked with us since leaving school. All the staff and directors attended the funeral and the office was closed as a mark of respect,” he said.

Mum-of-two Jacqueline was on holiday with her partner of two years Sam O’Reilly when the accident happened. She suffered horrific injures including a punctured lung when she fell from the third floor down two stories on to the hotel’s porch area.

Both her 18 year old daughter Megan and her little brother, and her 10-year-old son Sean, have been devastated by the loss, said her brother Bernard who added they had been told by local police and eye witness that Jacqueline’s death was a tragic accident.

“She just fell from the balcony, we don’t know whether she lost her balance or what, but it’s just so sad.”

The devoted brother also hit out at some newspaper reports that suggested Jacqueline and Sam were drunk.

“If people are going to run stories I would prefer if they came to the family. There have been a lot of rumours and they just aren’t helpful.

However Bernard thanked all those who had helped the family.

“The help we received from the British Embassy was first class, they helped us with lifts, organising flights, insurance, with the language barrier, everything. It made things easier for us. Jacqueline has a huge circle of family and friends and they are all devastated. She was a wonderful person, she was generous and kind and always considered everyone else before herself. She was outgoing and just loved it out in Bulgaria.”

He explained how the last ever photograph of Jacqueline was taken with Manchester United and Bulgaira football star Dimitar Berbatov.

“On Friday night she met Dimitar Berbatov outside a kebab shop and she got him to sign a Bulgaria top for her son. That was the last photo taken on her holiday,” he said.

Jacqueline McClafferty is survived by her parents Barney and Margaret, her brothers Stephen and Bernard, children Megan and Sean and her partner Sam.

Her funeral was held on Monday at Holy Family Church in North Belfast.

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