Monday 23 April 2018

'I knew something was wrong when Paud was not back from his cycle'

Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

THE widow of a cyclist killed while out training said she knew there was something wrong when her husband did not return home to take their boys to football practice.

Margaret O'Leary heard her husband Paud (42) was dead while standing in her kitchen with her brother-in-law Aeneas, who received the news over the phone from another family member.

Paud O'Leary was found dead in a ditch
Paud O'Leary was found dead in a ditch

The family had been searching for the father-of-four after his wife raised the alarm when he hadn't returned by midday.

He was found in a ditch less than 2km from his home in Leamyglissane, Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry, by his brother-in-law Jerry O'Callaghan.

Shane Fitzgerald (23) of Upper Knockeen, Knockduff, Meelin, Newmarket, Co Cork, denies dangerous driving causing his death at Scrahanfadda, Gneeveguilla on July 1, 2012.

Mrs O'Leary told his trial at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court her husband had gone to bed at around 10pm the previous night after first putting their daughter Antoinette, who has Down Syndrome, to bed.

Margaret O'Leary, wife of hit-and-run victim Paud O'Leary
Margaret O'Leary, wife of hit-and-run victim Paud O'Leary

The following morning he left their home at around 5am to go for a cycle.

Mrs O'Leary and Antoinette went to Mass later that morning and afterwards she attempted to contact her husband on his mobile phone to see if he was en route with his two boys to football practice.

When her older daughter Shannon told her he still hadn't returned, she said she knew something was wrong and contacted the gardaí to see if there had been an accident.

Mrs O'Leary also contacted her parents-in-law before she took her sons to training.

She was back home at around 1.15pm that afternoon when she heard the news.

"All I could hear was that he was dead," she told the court, adding that she then went to the scene with her daughter Shannon, arriving before the gardaí.

Breaking down with her voice barely audible, she said: "I knew he was dead. I didn't go down to him.

"I just could not believe it. It was horrendous."

Mrs O'Leary said her children saw their father later that day in the coffin when he was being taken from the scene.

Her sister and brother-in-law Mairead and Jerry O'Callaghan had gone out searching for Paud that day.

Mr O'Callaghan said he saw debris on the road at Scrahanfadda and reversed the car. When he got out, he noticed Paud's rucksack on the ditch and his mobile phone ringing.

"I knew at that stage Paud was there some place even though I hadn't see the body," he told the court.

"He was thrown against the hedge ... I checked for a pulse but he was stone cold. His mouth was half open and I knew by his colour he was dead."

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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