Friday 19 January 2018

Irish kayak doctor took his own life

Photofit: British police issued appeal for Dr Savage
Photofit: British police issued appeal for Dr Savage
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

An inquest has ruled that an Irish doctor whose body was found in a kayak in the Isle of Wight died from suicide.

The death of Morgan Savage (40) last September mystified the authorities in the UK after he was found strapped into a kayak with no identification.

Police launched a public appeal, circulating details about him on social media, but weeks passed before he was formally identified

An inquest into his death returned a verdict of death by suicide last week.

Dr Savage's body was found on Yaverland Beach by a couple out walking. He had wounds to his neck and wrist, and a rucksack filled with large rocks and a Stanley knife was found with his body. He was last seen three days earlier in the town of Newhaven, where he bought a blow-up Sevylor Condor kayak.

A post-mortem into his death was inconclusive. Despite an extensive police investigation, police had no idea who he was or where he came from. At the time, a police spokesman said: "We do not know where the man lived, or where he was originally from."

When a witness reported seeing a man matching the dead man's description who had an Irish accent, Hampshire police decided to extend the public appeal to Ireland.

Concerned relatives came forward and he was formally identified as Morgan Savage, a doctor, on October 19.

An inquest into Dr Savage's death opened later that month on the Isle of Wight. It heard that injuries to his neck and wrist "may have been made with a knife".

The coroner for the island ruled that the cause of death was a stab wound to the neck.

The inquest was adjourned until last week, when a verdict of suicide was returned.

A pathologist gave evidence of three wounds to Dr Savage's neck, one of which had pierced his jugular vein. All doctors would know that would cause a heart attack, the pathologist said.

A family member told the coroner that Dr Savage was an "extremely intelligent" and "private" man who had enjoyed travelling on his own.

He was a geriatric psychiatrist who worked at a Dublin hospital until he left his job last July. Staff at the hospital, Cheeverstown House, opened a book of condolence after learning of his death in October.

Portmarnock Community School in Dublin, where he was a former pupil, posted a message of condolence on its website. The tribute from school principal Eithne Deeney said: "Morgan was a most valued member of our school community during the years 1987-1992. He was also a most valued member of our wider Portmarnock community for his kind and generous acts in local community projects."

The principal went on to describe him as an "exceptional young man during his years in the school, contributing in a significant way to the arts and sports in our school. He was also a key leadership figure in our school, having been selected to a prefectership role in his final year".

Sunday Independent

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