Mother killed in crash had ‘heart of gold’ and ‘lived life to the full’

Funeral of Annmarie Hooper hears she ‘could be her own worst enemy at times’

The remains of Annmarie Hooper are carried from the Church of the Incarnation, Fettercairn, this morning after her funeral Mass. Photograph: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

The funeral of Annmarie Hooper, who was killed when disqualified driver Dean Coleman crashed his car while trying to evade gardaí last week, has heard how she could be "her own worst enemy at times", but that she "lived her life to the full".

Ms Hooper (33), from Tallaght, was a passenger in Coleman’s Fiat Stilo when it left the road and hit a lamppost on Butterfield Avenue, Rathfarnham on December 17th. Both Ms Hooper and Coleman, a 25-year-old criminal from Drimnagh, were killed in the crash.

Mourners waited outside the Church of the Incarnation, Fettercairn, on Monday for the mother of two’s remains to arrive by horse-drawn carriage in a white coffin, before filing inside as Rise Up by Andra Day was sung.

The funeral heard Annemarie Hooper’s first baby Sofiah died shortly after she was born.

Fr Pat McKinley, who presided over the ceremony, said nobody needed reminding that they were gathered there at Christmas, when “most of the world” was celebrating. “And we’re here this morning, in heartbreak, as we mourn the loss of Annmarie.”


Final journey

“We’re here in great sadness,” he continued. “There is something about Christmas I think that adds layers of sadness. We bring a young woman to her final journey.”

Fr McKinley said he felt “almost like a personal chaplain” to the Hooper family, which has been devastated by “so much sadness and tragedy” following the death of Annmarie’s former partner three years ago as well the death last year of her 12-year-old nephew Kyle Finnegan Hooper.

The funeral also heard of Ms Hooper’s first baby Sofiah who died shortly after she was born. “It was an occasion of great joy, but that joy turned quickly into heartbreak and suffering when baby Sofiah died,” said Fr McKinley.

“That event marked a real turning point in Annmarie’s very young life as she struggled to come to terms with the loss. I know, Katelyn, you brought great joy into your mam’s life after baby Sofiah’s death. But Annmarie continued to struggle.”

The funeral heard Annemarie Hooper’s first baby Sofiah died shortly after she was born.

Ms Hooper’s sunglasses, lip gloss, make-up bag, phone, and a bottle of Coca Cola were brought to the altar, which was adorned with pink and white balloons, to remember her life.

These were “all signs of Annmarie’s love of looking after herself, looking her best, showing off her best side,” said Fr McKinley. “Her interests included fashion and make-up. She loved to look her best.

“Baby Spice was a name that was thrown around a fair bit. I know she only recently enjoyed a pamper night in with her mam and Katelyn, and it was all nails and furry things, and whatnot.

Good heart

“Her own family are honest enough to be able to say that despite the fact that Annmarie had such a good heart, she could sometimes be her own worst enemy. For all that, she was a young woman who was full of life and full of love.”

Eulogies on behalf of Ms Hooper’s daughter Katelyn and mother Cathy were read to the congregation. Katelyn said she and her mother “had our disagreements and arguments”, but that she had “a heart of gold” and “lived her life to the full”.

Her mother Cathy said: “Even though she was a thorn in my side, I loved her. She was sent out for a pack of smokes one day and she arrived home three days later. She was her own worst enemy at times. She would do anything for anyone.”

Ms Hooper’s remains were buried afterwards at Newlands Cross Cemetery. Coleman, whose funeral also took place on Monday, was also buried at Newlands Cross following a ceremony at the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Drimnagh.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter