The death of a 58-year-old Longford man on New Year’s Eve 2009 was caused by the enlargement of his heart after he suffered a heart attack brought on by an unprovoked assault, the Coroner’s Court in Longford has heard.
Mr Noel Keegan of 31 Farnagh, County Longford died shortly after he was attacked by Martin McDonagh of 55 Mostrim Oaks, Edgeworthstown, County Longford at Park Road, Longford on December 31st 2009. Mr McDonagh was subsequently sentenced to five years imprisonment.
Mr Keegan, who was accompanied by his wife Marie on the evening of his death, was on his way to PVs on Ballymahon Street to meet with friends. The couple were followed by Mr McDonagh and a female friend and the inquest heard that the Keegans tried to ‘lose’ Mr McDonagh and the woman by heading in a different direction.
However Mr McDonagh and the female continued to follow them and McDonagh struck Mr Keegan causing him to fall to the ground and suffer a heart attack shortly before 9.45pm. After being administered cardiac drugs and having had his heart worked on for 30 minutes, Mr Keegan was pronounced dead at 10.28pm before being brought to the mortuary at Mullingar General Hospital.
Speaking in the Coroner’s Court on Thursday last, Dr Michael Curtis, Deputy State Pathologist said that after examining Mr Keegan’s body during post-mortem, it was clear to him that Mr Keegan was already predisposed to heart problems having suffered a heart attack just two months before the attack.
He said that Mr Keegan’s symptoms were aggravated by the attack and that his lungs were heavy and congested and that he had a remarkably enlarged heart or ‘cardiomegaly’ as a result of the incident.
The court also heard that the victim suffered bruising around his lips as a result of a blow he received during the attack along with a cluster of abrasions on the back of his left hand which were caused as a result of him falling to the ground after he was struck by McDonagh.
The jury then concurred that the cause of Mr Keegan’s death was in accordance with the medical evidence given.