Backpack floating in Liffey was attached to body, inquest hears

A security worker at a Dublin boathouse who saw a backpack floating in the River Liffey later discovered it was attached to a body, an inquest heard. Alan Coleman of Trinity Boathouse, Islandbridge, Dublin 8 spotted the backpack in the river on Sunday, March 8 2015.

The following day, he went to examine the backpack and found it was attached to a body.

“The next day the backpack was in the same position. I pulled on the backpack and a human arm rose out of the water,” Mr Coleman said in his deposition.

He called Gardai and the members of the Garda Water Unit arrived at the scene to recover the body. In the backpack they found items that allowed them to identify the dead man as Vincent Dunphy (35) of Pearse House, Dublin 2.

Mr Dunphy was last seen on Saturday morning, March 7 2015 and it was not possible to trace his movements after that.

Gardai called to the man’s father’s house in Clondalkin to notify the family. It was not known how Mr Dunphy entered the water or how long he was in the water, Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane told the family.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard the man was on a methadone treatment programme. He last attended the methadone clinic on March 6, three days before his body was found close to the weir at Trinity Boathouse.

A post-mortem report found the man died due to drowning. He had toxic levels of methadone and benzodiapines in his system at the time of his death which may have had a sedative effect, according to the pathologist. Gardai believed the man was homeless and sleeping rough on benches around the city centre.

“He may have been sleeping rough prior to this, on benches in and around the city. I’m not 100 per cent sure,” Garda Sean Gallagher of Kilmainham Garda Station told the court.

However, a friend of the deceased present in court said he was staying with him in his apartment at Pearse House at the time.

Garda Gallagher said the man had been fully dressed, wearing a woolly hat and backpack when members of the Garda Water Unit recovered his body from the River Liffey.

There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, according to Gardai. The coroner returned an open verdict.


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