An inquest was held at the Donegal Coroner’s Court in the Letterkenny Courthouse recently, into the death of dairy farmer Stuart Scott.
The 61-year-old farmer died last Christmas Eve at his house after he suffered a heart attack and fell into the fireplace. The inquest heard that the farmer was out earlier on the evening in question, at the local Simpson’s Bar in Carndonagh with his wife, Ann, and friends. The farmer then made his way home at approximately 1am that night, something which was not unusual according to his wife.
Mrs Scott told the hearing that she then returned home to the house at around 2am, where she noticed the fire was roaring. Mrs Scott noted that her husband had a habit of standing beside the fireplace whilst watching television, with a drink in his hand.
The inquest also heard that Mr Scott’s daughter, Jill, had returned home to the house herself at around 1am. She hugged her father, before bidding him goodnight. The farmer’s wife said upon entering the house that she saw Stuart was on the floor at a right angle to the fire.
She then realized that the farmer had fallen into the fire, before pulling him away from it. She said that his body was already stiff at this time and she knew he had died. Mrs Scott then called for emergency services, who arrived a short time later at approximately 2:08am.
Garda Ciaran McNicholas, who rushed to the scene that night, said he noticed that Mr Scott had suffered burns to his face, arm and chest. The farmer was pronounced dead at 3:08 am, the inquest heard. A post-mortem examination carried out, showed that the farmer was suffering from heart disease as well as burns caused by the fall. The death was ruled as being caused by a presumed cardiac arrhythmia, resulting from pre-existing heart disease, by Coroner Dr Denis McCauley.
Dr McCauley assured the Scott family that Stuart had died before he fell into the fire, before offering his condolences to the family.