Mayo farmer drowned trying to free his car from grass verge

Stock photo
Stock photo

Tom Shiel

A 61-year-old Co. Mayo farmer drowned after falling on his back into a river while attempting to push his car which had become stuck in the roadside grass verge, an inquest was told this week.

The body of Patrick Lavin, Rockfield, Claremorris, was found by a neighbour as he was checking livestock at Ballinasmalia, Claremorris, in the early hours of April 21 last.

The neighbour Kevin Walsh, Cranathar, Claremorris, first came across Mr. Lavin's empty car, "parked awkwardly", engine running, with the driver's door open, on the side of the road.

"Suddenly I looked into the stream and I could see a pair of brown shoes sticking up out of the water", Mr. Walsh outlined in a statement which was read out at the inquest in Castlebar conducted by the Coroner for Mayo, Patrick O'Connor.

"I looked again and could see a man beneath the surface of the water. He was clearly dead. There was no movement," the statement continued.

Garda Grainne Bligh, one of the investigating garda officers, told the inquest that the vehicle had left marks which seemed to suggest the vehicle was being reversed when it became stuck.

Sergeant Seamus O'Brien said his investigations suggested the car had become stuck after it was backed into the grass margin.

The coroner, Mr. O'Connor said the evidence suggested Mr. Lavin had been attempting to push his car when he fell into the river.

The medical cause of death was given to the inquest as asphyxia due to drowning.

An inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death in accordance with the medical evidence.

Online Editors