Sunday 18 August 2019

Community in shock after young father killed while repairing car

Richard Harron with his partner Lindsey
Richard Harron with his partner Lindsey

Leona O'Neill

The death of a young father who lost his life after a car fell on him at his Co Tyrone home has left his small community shocked and devastated.

Mechanic Richard Harron (26) died after the vehicle he was working on in a garage near his grandmother's Sion Mills house fell and crushed him shortly before 10.30pm on Monday.

His distraught father found him and raised the alarm. Paramedics were called to the scene but Richard died from his injuries.

The victim had spent Remembrance Sunday tending to the grave of his uncle Tommy, a UDR man murdered in an IRA bomb outside Ballygawley in 1983, before marching in the Remembrance Sunday parade in the Cowan Memorial Flute Band.

He was a well known and well-loved member of the Sion Mills community.

Ronnie Patton, who knew Richard since he was a child, said the loss of the young father was tragic.

He explained: "Richard was working at a car, he is a mechanic, at his granny's at High Road in Sion Mills.

"It was getting near bedtime and his granny had called her son, Richard's dad, to tell him that it was late as she saw the lights still on in the garage.

"His dad went up to the garage and found him under the car. They called the paramedics, they worked on him but unfortunately he died.

"I've known Richard his entire life. I would have taught him at Sunday School, I would have known him through the church.

"I would have seen him grow up, then saw as he brought his own little girl to the church.

"Just earlier this year he and his partner baptised their little baby Emma at the church.

"I am thinking of her today, of his partner and of his parents. It is just an awful time, I am heartbroken. It is a shock to the community here in Sion. It's not the natural run of things, burying their son.

"Richard was a long-standing member of the Cowan Memorial Flute Band. Just on Sunday they played at the Remembrance Sunday parade.

"On Sunday morning he tended to his uncle Tommy's grave alongside his mum, dad and brother.

"Tommy was one of four UDR soldiers killed by the IRA in 1983. It is awful for the family. They have had to bear so much. There was a young relative, a 10-year-old girl, choked on a balloon and died around eight years ago also. And now Richard is gone. It is just a tragedy."

Richard will be buried from the Church of the Good Shepherd in Sion Mills, where his daughter Emma was baptised in February.

Rev Jonathan McFarland said the church and the community will rally around the heartbroken family in the dark days ahead. He said: "The family are deeply hurt. And really the best thing that the church and the community can do is offer them our prayerful support."

UUP councillor Derek Hussey said the community in Sion Mills was stunned by the tragedy.

He added: "Like the rest of the community, I was shocked with the devastating news of the death of this young man in the prime of his life. I extend my sincere sympathy to the entire family circle at this very trying time and assure them that they are in the thoughts and prayers of the wider community as they go through this trauma."

A PSNI spokesperson said: "Police attended the sudden death of a man in his 20s in the High Road area of Sion Mills around 10.30pm on Monday.

"A post mortem is due to be carried out to determine the cause of death."

Belfast Telegraph

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