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Golf ball in man's throat not spotted in post-mortem

A GARDA investigation is underway after undertakers found a golf ball lodged in the throat of a deceased south Dublin businessman.

Funeral home staff made the shocking discovery as the they prepared the man's body for burial recently.

Unusually, the object had not been discovered during the course of a post-mortem. The businessman, believed to be from south Dublin, has not been named.

The golf ball was found when the undertakers made an incision in the upper chest and neck area during the embalming.

The ball may have been forced down the man's throat but it is understood that gardai have ruled out foul play.

The initial post-mortem was unable to establish the exact cause of death.

The man's jaw was in a state of rigor mortis and it is believed that the ball may have been lodged in the throat for a significant period of time.

An investigation is underway to ascertain how the ball got into the man's throat and how it went undetected during the course of the post-mortem.

The post-mortem took place at St James's Hospital and everyone known to have had contact with the body after his death are being interviewed by Gardai.

"A Garda investigation is being carried out to determine if the golf ball was present prior to the post mortem being carried out" said a spokesperson at St James's Hospital.

"At this stage it is far too early to conclude that was the case."

A hospital porter, the pathologist and a mortuary technician have made themselves available for interview to gardai.

The gardai have a basic statutory function when it comes to sudden death cases, of identifying the body before handing the information over to the mortuary.

It is believed that the post-mortem was undertaken because a doctor would not issue a death certificate without being able to determine the cause of death.