Birthday celebrations ended in tragedy, inquest hears

A 48 year old man suffered fatal traumatic injuries at his home after a night out celebrating his birthday. 

Robert Byrne, of Bridge Meadows, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford went out to a local pub in Enniscorthy on April 23 2015 for a few drinks.

He was found barely conscious in bed by a family member two days later and rushed to hospital.

Mr Byrne suffered a skull fracture and cuts and bruising to his brain in a suspected fall down stairs at his home after the celebratory night out.

His sister Susan Earle became concerned when he didn’t answer his phone and called to his house on April 25 around 3pm. She found his car outside, the front door open, a lamp overturned, a clothes basket overturned and smudges of blood on the wall in the hallway.

She found her brother upstairs in bed, with a ‘bad cut over his eye’ which was badly swollen.

She asked him if he was okay and said he held onto the blankets and told her ‘leave me.’

She called her parents and an ambulance.

Mr Byrne was rushed to Wexford General Hospital and later to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where he died ten days later. Garda Brian Kinsella said Gardai found nothing suspicious or untoward in relation to the case, although they were notified after Mr Byrne passed away.

Pathologist Dr Jane Cryan outlined the severity of the injuries Mr Byrne sustained, noting that the medical cause of death was brain swelling due to lack of oxygen to the brain, due to trauma to the skull and the brain.

Mr Byrne had an underlying heart problem that compounded his injuries.

Tragically, the last man to see him alive, who dropped him home the night of his birthday, took his own life two months later. Coroner Dr Crona Gallagher returned an open verdict.

“There’s still a lot of questions we cannot answer, we don’t know the circumstances of what occurred. The evidence isn’t there because it wasn’t witnessed and he (Mr Byrne) was too unwell to be able to say himself what had happened,” Dr Gallagher said.


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