'Visionary' dies in crash hours after first baby born
A self-proclaimed visionary who predicted that Our Lady would appear at Knock died in a road crash yesterday just hours after his wife gave birth to their first child.
Keith Henderson (34) was killed when his Toyota hit a pole in the village of Tarmonbarry, Co Roscommon, on the Longford to Strokestown road at 2.45am. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Henderson, who worked as a chef and lived in Scramogue near Tarmonbarry, was alone in the car.
The exact cause of the crash is not yet known. The possibility of driver fatigue or frost on the road will be examined as possible causes.
The body of Mr Henderson was taken to Roscommon General Hospital where a post- mortem examination will be carried out.
Mr Henderson's wife, Sharon, had given birth to their first child in Mullingar Hospital just hours before tragedy struck.
The couple moved to Tarmonbarry from Dublin a little over a year ago. Sharon's father, Ronald, also made the area his home and had to break the terrible news to his daughter in hospital.
Mrs Henderson gave birth on Tuesday and insisted on leaving her hospital bed to identify the body of her husband in Roscommon.
Local parish priest Fr Eamon O'Connor said: "This is a terrible tragedy. I was only talking to him last Sunday after Mass and he was very much looking forward to the birth of their baby.
"Keith's faith was very important to him. We were all very shocked to hear of his death in this road accident.
"Our sympathies, prayers and support go out to them all at this very difficult and sad time.''
Shocked locals described Mr Henderson as "a lovely person who was very devout."
Last year thousands of people gathered at Knock as Keith and spiritual healer Joe Coleman, from Ballyfermot in Dublin, delivered "visionary messages" from Our Lady.
People travelled from all over the country to pray alongside them.
Cllr Tom Crosby, who lives close to the scene of the accident, said: "Our hearts go out to Keith's family and friends, to his wife Sharon and Sharon's father Ronald. Keith was a very nice man to talk to, well-liked and respected by everyone here.
"He was very religious. For this to happen to them at this particular time when their first baby was just born, it's just unbelievable really, It's so very sad and there is a cloud over the entire parish today. Everyone is upset and affected by this terrible tragedy. Our deepest heartfelt sympathies go out to Sharon and Keith's family."
Keith worked as a chef at Gleeson's Townhouse and Restaurant in Roscommon where he was a popular among staff and customers alike.
Gardai appealed to any witnesses to contact Boyle station at 071 9664620 or the Garda Confidential Line at 1800 666111.