HC Deb 09 July 1941 vol 373 cc155-6
23. Dr. Morgan

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has received from the Colony of Trinidad any information as to the death by drowning of Miss Kathleen Donellan, the Irish school-teacher, and the circumstances of her escape from her internment camp; whether the internment camp of her detention was in one of the satellite islands of the Colony or on the island itself; whether the offer of release made to this lady, on 26th May last, was conditional; and, if so, what were the conditions imposed?

Mr. George Hall

The Governor of Trinidad has reported that Miss Donellan escaped from the internment camp some time on the night of 23rd June, and was found drowned, near the harbour, at noon on 24th June. The verdict of the coroner's inquest was that the cause of death was asphyxia from drowning, that she committed suicide, and that there was no ground for suspecting that any person is guilty of felony in respect of such death. The coroner found that she had made an attempt before the actual drowning to take her own life by the infliction of certain wounds. It was also disclosed at the inquest for the first time that she had twice attempted suicide during the three months prior to her death. An inquiry made by the Commissioner of Police has established that sentries were properly posted, and that the fences of the camp were properly illuminated. Miss Donellan apparently escaped between the visits of a patrol sentry, at a point where a post in the inner fence had sagged and allowed the wire to be drawn apart sufficiently for a small person to get through.

As regards the second part of the Question, the camp was situated in Port of Spain in Trinidad. As regards the third part of the Question, Miss Donellan was informed that the order for her detention could not be revoked unless she left the Colony to return to Eire, and she replied that she was not prepared to return to that country.