A HEARTBROKEN Donegal woman has told how she warned her elderly father to be careful just minutes before a 50ft fir tree came crashing down on him.
Paddy Havlin, 74, was watching his son-in-law and grandson cut tree at Mr Havlin’s s home in Redcastle on the evening of September 3rd last.
Son-in-law Eamon McLaughlin was being helped by his own son Ethan to cuts a number of trees at the house in Clar, Redcastle.
Mrs Patricia McLaughlin, the daughter of the victim, told how she had warned her father to be careful as he tried to help.
“He had been coming in and out of the house getting gloves for Ethan and things. I told him to make sure he stood back and to be careful,” she said.
Eamon McLaughlin, from Listillion in Letterkenny, said he had cut a number of trees down in about 40 minutes and had then sent for a wedge so a large tree would fall in the right direction.
When he did cut it down, he heard shouts from his wife coming from the home of Mr Havlin.
He said he didn’t know what had happened and only realised seconds later that the tree had fallen on gates, hitting the victim as it fell.
Mr.Havlin, who had lived alone since his wife died 11 years ago, was lying on a concrete street and was unconscious.
The victim’s family rushed to his aid and discovered blood coming out of his ear and head.
Mr McLaughlin said the victim’s breathing was strong but when he asked the pensioner to squeeze his hand, he got no response.
An ambulance was called to the scene and paramedics worked to save Mr Havlin’s life for more than 40 minutes but could do nothing for him.
A pathology report found that Mr Havlin had numerous rib fractures and also had a severe head injury.
Coroner Dr.John Madden said he was very sorry that such an accident had claimed Mr Havlin’s life.
“It is very sad when people are going about their everyday lives and something like this happens and changes that forever. I am very sorry for all concerned here,” he said.
He found that Mr Havlin died from a head injury as a result of being struck by a falling tree.