Man fatally injured himself with samurai sword during family disturbance, inquest hears

A 56 year old man threatened his family with a samurai sword before using the weapon to inflict a fatal stab wound to himself, an inquest heard.

Gardai responded to a call involving a disturbance at a family home in a Dublin suburb at around 9.30am.

Arriving at the house, Gardai found they front door slightly ajar. Upon entering the house, they found a male lying injured on the stairs.

"The details we were given over the radio was that a disturbance was taking place at the address and a male was armed with a samurai sword," a garda told the inquest.

"We found a man lying upside down on the stairs, his shirt was bloodstained and he was bleeding from the chest. We moved him from the stairs to the floor and a samurai sword was found underneath him at that stage," the garda said.

The court heard that the man had threatened others in the house with the sword before gardai had arrived. One male had left the house earlier that morning after he was threatened while two females locked themselves in an upstairs bedroom. They emerged when gardai arrived, the court heard.

The samurai sword was part of an apparent collection of Japanese artefacts and weapons stored in the family home.

"The man had a number of weapons. It appeared he had become very interested in Japanese culture, there was a number of artefacts of Japanese culture in the house and it appeared he was attempting to learn the Japanese language," a garda told the court.

"He inflicted the wound to his own chest on the landing and he subsequently fell down the stairs, which is where we found him," the garda said.

The man had a history of depression which had worsened significantly in the lead up to his death last Autumn, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

The man was rushed to hospital where he died in theatre as doctors tried to save his life. State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy performed a post-mortem examination the following day. The man had suffered devastating internal injuries as a result of the wound. The man suffered hemorrhage and shock due to uncontrollable bleeding from the injuries sustained, the pathologist said. The man had coronary heart disease and this was a contributory factor, the court heard. The injury was consistent with a samurai sword found at the scene, Professor Cassidy said. The blade on the sword was 53cm long and between 16 and 20 cm was bloodstained, the court heard.

Returning a verdict Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane found that the man took his own life.


Working Life: Dr Carl Fagan, consultant in intensive care medicine, Beacon Hospital, Dublin

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