Teenager, 18, died jumping off bridge three months after being drugged and raped on holiday in Greece, inquest hears

8 September 2023, 13:13 | Updated: 8 September 2023, 13:14

Julie Crowe died after jumping off a bridge over Rathbeggan Lakes.
Julie Crowe died after jumping off a bridge over Rathbeggan Lakes. Picture: Facebook

By Jenny Medlicott

A teenager from County Meath died jumping from a bridge after she was raped and drugged while on holiday, an inquest has heard.

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Julie Crowe, 18, from County Meath, jumped from a bridge over the M3 motorway near Rathbeggan Lakes on 4 November 2019.

The Dublin district coroner’s court heard that Julie had developed a low mood and thoughts of self-harm after she was attacked on holiday just three months prior.

Garda transferred Julie’s statement to Greek authorities via Interpol but the inquest heard that they had received no further feedback about the progress of any criminal investigation.

The 18-year-old went on holiday to the Greek island, Zakynthos with her friends in August 2019, where she was drugged and raped.

Speaking at the inquest, Julie’s father, Gary Crowe, said the morning of her death he had decided to work from home because Julie had not slept.

He woke her up at around 12:20pm when she appeared “very subdued and very detached”.

She then apologised for the cost of their family trip to the US, which they had recently returned from.

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Julie died aged 18 just three months after being attacked on holiday.
Julie died aged 18 just three months after being attacked on holiday. Picture: Facebook

Mr Crowe said he hugged her to try and get her “out of a daze”.

She then went to take a shower, when Mr Crowe said he noticed a note left on her bed - but he left it as he thought it was part of her diary.

But when he returned to check on her at around 2:15pm she had vanished.

Mr Crowe then called his wife as he had started to worry she had run away and read the note left on her bed, which made a reference to Rathbeggan Lakes.

By the time he made it to the flyover bridge by the Rathbeggan lakes, Mr Crowe said traffic was pulling over on the motorway before he eventually spotted his daughter lying on the ground.

Attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

Jonathan Madden, a man who drove past Julie when she was standing on the outside of the bridge railing, told the inquest of how he called 999.

He said he pulled off the motorway at the next junction to return to the spot Julie was stood at but she had already jumped by the time he returned.

After reviewing the CCTV footage of the bridge and evidence provided by eyewitnesses, Garda closed the investigation into Julie’s death.

The inquest ruled that Julie died by suicide.
The inquest ruled that Julie died by suicide. Picture: Facebook

Julie’s mother, Anna Crowe, told the inquest that after the phone call from her husband on November 4 she went to the flyover bridge where she spotted her daughter’s body on the floor.

She and her husband waited for paramedics to attend to her before she was taken to the hospital.

By 3:50pm her family were told she had suffered catastrophic injuries which she would not survive - nine minutes later she was pronounced dead.

Her post-mortem examination confirmed she had suffered head injuries consistent with a fall from a height.

Julie’s mother said her daughter only realised she had been raped while in Greece after talking to her friends.

A psychiatrist diagnosed the 18-year-old with post-traumatic stress disorder and a moderate depressive episode in October 2019.

The psychiatrist, Omer Chaudhary, said that Julie came out as gay after her return from Greece to both family and friends.

She also said that Julie had complained of struggling to cope and had experienced increasing nightmares - but she had not shown any intent to kill herself. She also developed fears she was pregnant after her attack, although tests did not suggest she was.

Julie declined to be admitted to hospital on a voluntary basis amid her struggles but decided to visit her GP to discuss anti-depressant medication and getting referred to a mental health service unit.

Her family told the inquest that the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre had been reluctant to speak to Julie about getting a more urgent appointment because she was over 18 and needed to contact them directly.

The coroner Aisling Gannon ruled that Julie died by suicide based on the evidence given.

Ms Gannon said it was a “very, very tragic case in very sad circumstances” following the conclusion.

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