Man punched garda in face

Fri, Oct 12, 2012, 01:00

A MAN who was suffering from excited delirium punched a female Garda in the face shortly before he died, an inquest heard yesterday.

William “Billy” Kavanagh (58) from Edenmore Crescent in Raheny, Dublin 5, died after midnight on June 5th, 2009 while in garda custody having been found running around naked in the Bayside area of north Dublin. Mr Kavanagh became unwell at the scene and was not breathing when paramedics arrived.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that gardaí were patrolling Bayside following reports of a naked man in the area when they saw Mr Kavanagh running towards them. Garda Judith Notley said that Mr Kavanagh ran up to the patrol car and got into the back seat. He was shouting “Darndale, Darndale” and when asked what his name was he said “Buttercup”. He told gardaí he had been robbed.

“I could see he was very frantic and splashes of blood on his face and upper chest area but I couldn’t see any visible cuts,” she said.

Mr Kavanagh got out of the car and tried to run away. Garda Notely chased after him and caught him by the arm.

“He automatically turned around and punched me in the face. I didn’t leave go of his arm. I still thought he was frantic from being robbed and beaten up,” she said.

She blocked a second punch and a struggle ensued. Three gardaí, including Garda Notely, brought Mr Kavanagh to the ground and restrained him. She said the restraint had not been “forceful” but Mr Kavanagh continued to struggle.

He was handcuffed and placed in the recovery position. His pulse was being checked constantly and his breathing monitored, said Garda Notely.

However, when paramedics arrived a short time later Mr Kavanagh was not breathing.

State Pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy said Mr Kavanagh had died from a stress-related heart attack which had been precipitated by preceding events including excited delirium and restraint by gardaí.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell adjourned the inquest for further hearing in January.