COUNCIL worker Paddy (Patrick) O’Sullivan of Direens, Dunmanway was found dead outside his home after attending a Christmas party with his work colleagues on December 8th 2018.
At an inquest into his death in Clonakilty recently, his wife Zena told coroner Frank O’Connell that she was also at a Christmas party on the evening before, and was unaware that her husband had returned home.
‘I arrived home and went in the front door. The lights were on because I left them on, but I thought Paddy was still out and went to bed,’ Mrs O’Sullivan said in her statement, which was read to the court.
Unbeknownst to his wife, Paddy’s body lay against the side wall of the house with a wound to his head.
Garda Kevin Kennedy told the coroner that the scene was preserved due to concerns because of the head injury.
However, following an investigation, the gardaí reached the conclusion that there was no third party involved and that Paddy had walked around the house, fell, and then walked or stumbled to the side of the house where he was found.
Paddy’s work colleague, Martin Thompson, who dropped him home at 9.30pm on the evening of December 7th, said that Paddy had asked him for the lift. When he arrived at the house he had assumed, because the lights were on, that there was someone home. ‘He got out of the car and walked to the side of the house and I headed back to Dunmanway,’ Martin told gardaí in his statement.
Dr Margaret Bolster told the inquest that while Paddy did have a blow to his head, it was not severe and was not fatal. She said that her autopsy relieved severe heart disease. Paddy had undergone a recent heart operation and, in her opinion, he was at risk of sudden death at any time.
Coroner Frank O’Connell ruled that the underlying cause of Paddy’s death was heart disease, alcohol consumption and a fall, leading to acute cardiac failure.
A verdict of death by natural causes was entered.