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Boy (7) killed walking dogs in gate crash

A SEVEN-year-old boy was fatally injured after his dog jumped against a steel gate which swung round and struck him on the head, an inquest heard.

Christian Flannery was out walking the dogs with his father beside the family home at Killock, Clerihan, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, when the incident happened on May 20 last year.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that he was rushed to hospital, and initially it looked like he would make a recovery following emergency surgery - but he suffered an aneurysm leading to his death at Temple Street Children's Hospital a month later, on June 19.

His father Paddy Flannery told the inquest that he knew something was seriously wrong when he heard his son crying out after he was struck.

"We had finished galloping the dogs. Christian went over to a gate that was partially open. The dogs were on one side of the gate and Christian was on the other. The dogs were running and one of the dogs hit the gate causing it to swing forward and hit Christian on the side of the forehead," he said.

Christian had been struck by the latch of the steel gate.

"He fell to the ground and I could hear him cry. I knew instantly it wasn't a normal cry," said Mr Flannery.


Christian was taken by ambulance to South Tipperary General Hospital where CT scans showed multiple fractures of the skull.

He was transferred to Temple Street Hospital and underwent emergency surgery. Consultant neurosurgeon at Temple Street, Mr Darach Crimmins, said the fractures were extensive, there was tearing in the dura-lining of the brain, and bleeding on the brain.

He removed all of the blood in so far as he could, he said, repaired the laceration and repaired the skull using multiple re-absorbable plates.

Christian required a further operation on May 28 following a seizure.

On June 3, Christian's condition deteriorated suddenly. Mr Crimmins said a CT scan showed a "horrendous haemorrhage" on the left side of the brain.

"We discussed the case with Christian's family and we felt that this degree of new injury was incompatible with any meaningful survival," he said.

He told the court that prior to the haemorrhage, Christian was in recovery.

At post-portem, pathologist Dr Deirdre Devaney found that Christian had suffered a "rare, uncommon" complication.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned a verdict of accidental death. Following the inquest Mr Flannery thanked the staff at Temple Street Hospital.