The principal of the school where tragic Danielle McLaughlin sat her Leaving Certificate has spoken of a “bright, bubbly girl who was always smiling.”
Rosaleen Grant, principal of Scoil Mhuire Secondary School in Buncrana, said she refused to believe anything had happened to Danielle when she first heard the claims on Tuesday evening.
“My son came home and told me that Danielle had been murdered in India and I thought he had just got it wrong and I dismissed it.
“But then the texts started to come and I thought to myself that there was something more to it,” she said.
The news of Danielle’s death was broken to school teachers around 10am yesterday morning.
Ms Grant said that while many of the pupils in the school do not know Danielle, many of the teachers remember her fondly.
“Her smile. That’s what I will always remember her by. She had an amazing smile. She was bright and bubbly and very, very independent.
“She was a typical student, always very sociable and involved in everything she could be. It’s just devastating news,” she said.
The eldest of five girls, Danielle’s next eldest sister Jolene left Scoil Mhuire last year while two other sisters attend the local primary school, Scoil Iosagain.
The school principal remembers Danielle being in the school musical Grease in 2003, pictures of which are still in the corridors of the school.
Special prayers were said for Danielle and her family in the school yesterday morning.
Ms Grant said the one thing that the community will do is to rally around the McLaughlin family.
“The McLaughlins are ordinary, good people and the one thing the community will do is to support them. The community will be here for them in the days, weeks and months ahead to support them,” she said.
The school principal said she was shocked that someone so adventurous and independent as Danielle had died in such tragic circumstances.
“She was so well-traveled and independent. She was in college in Liverpool and had been in Australia and then Thailand before going to India.
“She was very mature so I’m just at a loss that she was killed in this manner,” she added.