An 11-year-old boy was fatally wounded after he was chased straight out in front of a car because he was a member of the Travelling Community, his father claimed tonight.
Daniel Maughan died from severe head injuries in Beaumont Hospital on February 19, 2004 almost a month after he cycled out in front of a car on the Rathbeale Road in Swords, Co Dublin.
His father, Gerard Maughan, claimed another boy, Danny Cogley, was chasing his son on his bicycle at the time.
“Danny (Maughan) would not just run out in front of a car unless he was being chased,” he said.
Mr Maughan told the inquest: “I was told my son was being chased from Mooretown because he was a Traveller.”
Another boy, Philip Sheridan, who was playing with the group of teenagers in the Mooretown estate before the accident took place, said Danny Cogley was chasing the 11-year-old “in a friendly way“, and they were just playing.
The court heard that Daniel, who was from Abbeylea Drive in Swords, came out of the Mooretown estate with a group of young boys and cycled straight off the pavement and onto the road in front of a car on January 13, 2004.
The father said: “I believe my son was deliberately chased out onto the road.”
Mr Maughan said he had to sit in Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital for almost 40 days as his son took two heart attacks and his head began to swell. He said most of the young teenagers who had been playing with Daniel at the time of the accident had not bothered to come see him.
Daniel Cogley, who was 15 at the time of the incident, said he had not been chasing the other Daniel. He said they were “just messing around with bikes“. He told the court he was several yards behind the 11-year-old when he suddenly cycled down the bank onto the road.
A statement from another teenager, Kevin Gilsenan, who was playing with the group, said that Daniel and Danny Cogley were chasing into each other “like Robot Wars” on their bicycles.
Gda Finbarr McQuaile, the investigating officer, told the court that there was no evidence that Daniel was being chased when he cycled in front of the car.
“All the people there at that time were friends and play together,” he said. “I would be very satisfied he was not being actively chased.”
However, Mr Maughan claimed there was always an ongoing argument between the boys from the Abbeylea estates and the Mooretown estates, where Daniel was playing at the time of the incident.
The driver of the silver Peugeot car, Barbara Kelly, said at around 6.25pm as she drove along the Rathbeale Road on the dark winter’s evening she noticed the children come out of Mooretown estate where they had been playing.
“They were going out fairly fast so I kept an eye on them,” Ms Kelly said.
She said they were ahead of her on the footpath when Daniel suddenly turned and cycled down the grassy slope without looking and went straight out in front of her.
Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said: “I am cognisant of the family’s concerns that he was being chased but there isn’t any objective evidence he was being chased.”
The court, which passed a verdict of accidental death, heard there had been other deaths on the busy road.
The coroner promised to write to Fingal County Council to alert them to the death and highlight the jury’s recommendation that the street lighting be examined along that stretch of road.
Gda Patrick McCallion, who inspected the bicycle, said the back brake cable on the yellow mountain bike was missing and the front brakes had suffered from poor maintenance. He said there had been no lights on the bicycle, however, there were pedal reflectors.
Mr Maughan told the court that unfortunately Daniel had used the bike, which was generally just for spare parts and had two flat tyres, as his own bicycle that night.