THE valiant efforts of local fishermen and emergency services to rescue a 55-year-old Kilkenny business woman from drowning were lauded at last Wednesday’s Coroner’s Court.
Fiona Gaynor, 16 Rosehill Avenue, Kells Road suffered cardio respiratory arrest secondary to drowning on September 12, 2012 and County Coroner Tim Kiely outlined how he was aware of the existence of a letter, details of which wouldn’t be made public before returning a verdict of death by suicide.
During the course of the inquest, Ms Gaynor’s sister Mary addressed Dr Maurice Murphy, who performed the post mortem at Waterford Regional Hospital, and she enquired if her sister had a fatal illness as had been rumoured? Dr Murphy revealed she hadn’t.
Laura Phelan said she worked with the deceased, who was like a mum to her, at Patrick Street, Kilkenny. She last saw Ms Gaynor on September 12.
She was to travel to see her daughter Olive at UCD and she left a few jobs for Ms Phelan to do. “Fiona always said ‘see you in the morning bright and breezy’ but not this time. She just said ‘bye’. It was the last I saw of Fiona.”
Matthew Tyrrell was fishing on the river Nore at Ballyduff House, Thomastown and he noticed Dermot Tennyson arrive in his jeep close by. He then saw a body face down floating in the middle of the river. He ran to get help and a canoe. He later showed Gardaí where he first saw the body.
Dermot Tennyson works with his sister at Ballyduff House and he heard shouts. Upon realising there was a body he quickly got a canoe, entered the river and paddled. Between 150 and 200 yards from his sister’s house he pulled up his canoe alongside the body which was facing downwards. With the help of another angler and grabbing a cardigan they pulled the body into shore. Within five to seven minutes, members of the fire service were also at the scene.
Eamonn O’Mahony was on his way fishing when at an area known as the Turnhole he saw a body turned face down in the water, bare legs and wearing a black top. He said the body was pulled out of the water near the Sandhole which is situated 100 yards from the Turnhole. He said members of the fire services performed CPR on the woman.
Garda Brian Whittle (Thomastown) gave evidence of attending the scene and the formal identification of the deceased by Mary Gaynor at Waterford city morgue.
Dr Maurice Murphy conducted the post mortem on September 13 and said there was slight bruising on both of Fiona Gaynor’s knees, her lungs were mildly inflated and there was no evidence of enlarged lymph nodes. It was his opinion that cause of death was cardio respiratory arrest secondary to drowning.
Returning his verdict, Coroner Mr Kiely said he knew the deceased and described her as a kind and warm hearted lady who will be greatly missed by her wide of circle of friends. He extended sympathy to the Gaynor family as did Inspector Liam Connolly.
Michael Gaynor thanked and praised the valiant efforts of those who were first on the scene - fishermen, emergency services, Gardas Elaine Byrne, Brian Whittle and Adrian O’Connor and medical personnel for their support and assistance.