A KILLALA man who took a motorcycle for a spin around the north Mayo town died from massive hemorrhaging to the brain when the bike crashed into a wall.
A verdict of accidental death was recorded at an inquest into the death of father-of-three Paul Gillespie of 49 Woodview Court, Killala, in Mayo General Hospital on July 23, 2011.
The inquest heard that Mr Gillespie had been having a cigarette with his friend Ciarán McHale outside Lynn’s pub in Killala at 7pm on July 22 when Enda Moran pulled up on his Suzuki motorcycle.
Mr McHale said that when Mr Gillespie finished his cigarette, he went to look at the bike and in a ‘split second’ started the bike and took off. He was not wearing a helmet and Mr McHale said he was surprised that he knew how to ride a bike.
Mr Moran said he didn’t expect Mr Gillespie to take the bike and thought he would come back immediately but he went down towards The Quay area. Both men said they heard the engine come towards them when they suddenly heard a bang.
The accident took place at a junction and they ran towards the bike and noticed that it was on top of Mr Gillespie who was unconscious. Mr McHale said he immediately called 999 and Mr Moran picked the bike off the victim.
Mr Gillespie was rushed to Mayo General Hospital but despite being given five pints of blood, he could not recover from his injuries, and he died the following morning. A postmortem revealed the cause of death was brain hemorrhaging due to multiple skull fractures.
Garda Bryan McGuire explained that there was no other vehicle involved in the accident and that there were no witnesses. However, he said witnesses who saw him on the motorcycle said he had not been driving fast.
Sergeant Gabriel McLoughlin, the PSV inspector who inspected the scene said there was no evidence of speed and the motorcycle was in a roadworthy condition. He said the bike seemed to fall on its right-hand side at the junction and slid across the road before colliding with the wall. He said the 600cc bike would not have been difficult to ride but would have a high acceleration.
Karen Gillespie, the deceased’s ex-wife, said that the couple had three children together and that despite separating were still good friends and she loved him dearly.
“He was a good daddy, and his kids were everything to him,” she said. Coronor John O’Dwyer, extended his sympathy to the Gillespie family who said this tragedy showed how easy it was to die even without being negligent.