Elderly man lay dead for up to a month over Christmas period

An elderly recluse lay dead in his Cork City home for up to a month over Christmas.

Vincent Lynch, 74, who lived at Horgan’s Buildings on Magazine Road, was found dead in his home by his daughter, Elizabeth, on January 23 last.

Ms Lynch told Cork City Coroner’s Court yesterday that she would see him about once a month but despite her best efforts, he refused to see doctors, shunned medical help, and refused to engage with social services.

“He kept himself to himself. He wanted his own space,” she said.

Ms Lynch said they had a long-standing arrangement that he would phone her on Saturday evenings, but those calls stopped some time last October.

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She said she last saw her father on December 1, when she bought him pyjamas, thermal vests and gave him a Christmas card, and that she last spoke to him a few days later.

She told the inquest that she spent Christmas with her own family and called to her father’s home around lunchtime on January 23, and found his body lying face down inside, with a walking stick in one hand.

It was apparent that he had been dead for some time.

Garda Anthony Kelleher said there was no evidence of a break-in and foul play was ruled out.

He said gardaí found Mr Lynch’s wallet, which contained a substantial quantity of cash, on his person and later returned it to his daughter.

He said they were able to establish that Mr Lynch collected his pension on December 23 and that he bought the Irish Examiner on Christmas Eve but he said neighbours knew little about him.

Dr Margot Bolster said death was due to acute cardiac failure due to heart disease.

She said the advanced state of decomposition was consistent with death having occurred up to a month earlier.

City coroner De Myra Cullinane recorded a verdict of death due to natural causes.

She said it was possible that Mr Lynch died later on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day but she recorded the date of death as the date death was pronounced.

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