A RETIRED nurse is launching a last-ditch bid to clear her name seven years after the tragic death of one of her patients sparked a murder enquiry.

Seamus McCollum died in Maine Nursing Home on September 12, 2011.

Mary Harraghy had been watching over him that night, checking on him every hour - but when a care assistant looked in at 6am she instantly knew that ‘something was wrong’.

The 56-year-old had no pulse. Together they began CPR and rang an ambulance. The paramedics arrived within minutes, but Seamus was pronounced dead at 7.30am.

A doctor was called to certify the death and he noticed some unusual injuries around the deceased’s neck and the police were called.

What was a tragedy for the McCollum family soon spiralled into a personal nightmare for Mary. Despite an unblemished 40-year career in nursing, she was a suspect.

The police believed Mr McCollum had been killed - and the finger of blame was pointed squarely at her.

Her home was searched, her property was seized and she was interviewed at Antrim Serious Crime Suite.

She was released unconditionally, but she did not feel that she had been exonerated.

All the while she protested her innocence - and some were clearly listening.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council conducted their own investigation and concluded that there was no case to answer. The Northern Trust carried out a safeguarding probe, and they too concluded that Mary was in the clear.

She was even allowed to return to work in the care home.

But the local woman still feels she has something to prove.

After the four-day inquest in 2017 the police confirmed that Seamus McCollum’s death ‘remains a murder investigation’ - and that being the case, the 67-year-old believes she remains the prime suspect.

“I’ve done nothing wrong, but it feels like the finger is still pointing at me. My name has been blackened and my reputation destroyed,” she said.

“I really feel for Seamus’ family too. They’ve been led to believe that someone took his life. I want them to know that I didn’t kill him. In fact, I don’t think he was murdered at all.”

*Read the full shocking story in this week’s Antrim Guardian.

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