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Man drowned after he fell over wall on way home from pub


The Dublin Coroners Court, Store St. Pic Tom Burke.

The Dublin Coroners Court, Store St. Pic Tom Burke.

The Dublin Coroners Court, Store St. Pic Tom Burke.

A man accidentally drowned when he fell over a low wall on his way home from the pub and landed face down in a shallow river, an inquest heard.

Michael Doyle (49) from Prospect View in Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, was found in the Owendoher River on the Edmonstown Road, close to his home on the evening of August 3 last year. He had fallen over the wall, dropping ten feet to the river below, as he made his way home after leaving the Merry Ploughboy pub.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that following the accident the local authority put up a steel barrier at the wall, which is 50 yards from a primary school. Garda Peter Collins said that this should have been done before and the wall had been a “disgrace”.

Mr Doyle’s body was found by his friend Brendan Murphy. The two men were drinking in the Merry Ploughboy the night before. Mr Murphy said they had about six pints and when he left the pub at 12.30am, Mr Doyle said he was staying on for another. He became concerned when Mr Doyle failed to appear for a round of golf the following day and at around 6.30pm he called up to the dead man’s house but there was no sign of him. He spoke to the barman at the pub who told him that Mr Doyle left at 1.20am the night before. As he drove along the route Mr Doyle would have taken home, he stopped at the wall.

“I went over to a wall which was only about two foot high and looked over it. I observed the body of my friend Michael Doyle lying face down in the shallow water,” he said.

Rigor mortis had set in indicating that Mr Doyle had been dead for at least 12 hours when he was found. 

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that at postmortem there were signs of drowning. There was a wound on Mr Doyle’s head but no evidence of skull fracture. He said a “significantly high level of alcohol” was found in the blood at 233 milligrams per cent.

Garda Collins described the death as a “tragic accident”. The wall was so low that you would “nearly have to fall on it” to sit on it, he told the court. “It was a disgrace,” he said.

Noting there were no signs that Mr Doyle struggled, Dr Farrell said he may have been stunned by the blow to the head and unaware of what was happening.

Returning a verdict of misadventure, he said that the low level of the wall and the presence of alcohol were both risk factors.

Online Editors