Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Lord Ballyedmond killed in helicopter crash

Lord Ballyedmond, owner of Corby Castle, near Carlisle, has been killed in a helicopter crash.

Lord Ballyedmond photo
Lord Ballyedmond

He was one of four people, all confirmed as male, who died in the crash near his stately home at Gillingham, near Beccles, Norfolk, at 7.30pm yesterday.

The Northern Irish peer, aged 70, died at the scene.

At a press conference in the early hours of this morning, Inspector Louis Provart, of Norfolk Police, said the crash site was in a field containing a wooded area and all four occupants on board the helicopter were pronounced dead at the scene.

It is not known what caused the AgustaWestland AW139 to crash, though witnesses say it was foggy and happened very soon after take-off.

Late this morning it emerged that Lord Ballyedmond had recently raised safety concerns with the helicopter’s manufacturers.

His company Haughey Air Ltd had lodged a writ against AgustaWestland over concerns about a helicopter supplied by them.

The case was lodged in September last year and is understood to have included concerns about in-flight mapping systems.

An AgustaWestland spokesman said it could not comment on possible defects with Lord Ballyedmond’s AW139 VIP helicopter but said it was investigating.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch is to send a team to the crash area.

No details on the identities of the other victims are currently available. They were, however, two pilots and a man from Mayobridge in County Down.

Article continues below...

Edward Haughey, who became life peer Lord Ballyedmond in 2004, was included in The Sunday Times 2013 Rich List, which details the 1,000 wealthiest people in Britain and Ireland every year.

He was at number 98 on the list with a reported worth of £860m.

Lord Ballyedmond - married with two sons and a daughter - was owner of Norbrook Laboratories, a Northern Ireland-based pharmaceutical firm which has a base on Kingstown Industrial Estate in Carlisle.

The firm was last year said to be the largest veterinary pharmaceutical company in the world.

As well as the castle and stately home, he was said to have a villa in Cannes and property in Dublin. He and his wife had also spent a number of years restoring a six-storey townhouse in Belgrave Square, London.

Lord Ballyedmond sat in the House of Lords as a member of the Conservative Party.

The Louth-born businessman and politician was a member of the Irish Senate from 1994 to 2002. He had also held positions with the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation and the British-Irish Inter-parliamentary Body.


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