Farmer killed instantly while singlehandedly knocking down an old farm shed, inquest hears

Mayo University Hospital Photo: Google Maps
Mayo University Hospital Photo: Google Maps

Tom Shiel

The often lethal dangers associated with farm activities was highlighted by a coroner at an inquest into the death of a 50-year-old Co. Mayo farmer who was pinned beneath a slab of concrete which collapsed upon him while he was demolishing an outhouse.

Gerard Naughton, Killeen, Ballindine instantly while singlehandedly knocking down an old farm shed on January 9 last.

His body was discovered by his wife, Ann Marie, when she returned from collecting one of her children, Emma, from a school bus.

In a statement to gardai which was read at an inquest into her husband’s death in Castlebar, Mrs. Naughton explained that as they reached home she asked Emma “to get out there and see if there is any sight of your dad”.

Continuing her statement, Mrs. Naughton said she then saw a flash of yellow which she recognised as Gerry’s wellington.

“At that stage Emma turned around to me and said: ‘Mammy, he’s under it’.

Mrs. Naughton said they both began calling Gerry’s name but there was no response and she raised the alarm by ringing a relative.

Mr. Naughton, who was regarded in his community as a hardworking and progressive farmer, died at the scene despite efforts to revive him.

Dr. Fadel Bennani, consultant pathologist at Mayo University Hospital, gave the cause of death as ‘positional asphyxia’ due to chest compression due to the collapse of a wall.

Responding to a question from Mr. Naughton’s widow, Dr. Bennani said there was nothing that could be done to save her husband even if she and others were standing right beside him at the time of the structural collapse.

After returning a verdict of accidental death in accordance with the medical evidence, the coroner noted that unfortunately there is a phenomenon in this country” of many farmers being killed due to accidents on their properties.

The coroner said he hoped that lessons from the tragedy would be learned by other farmers.

Online Editors