The death of a 62-year-old man from natural causes could not be separated from the stress caused by the discovery of two intruders in his home, an inquest in Limerick has heard.
John O’Donoghue, of Toomaline, Doon, Co Limerick, collapsed and died outside his home when he returned there on the afternoon of 27 August 2015 along with his sister Christine, to discover two intruders at the house.
Another man who was in a car parked across the road was furiously beeping the horn.
Ms O'Donoghue told his inquest today that she tried to perform CPR on her brother and called on the intruders to help her, but said no one came.
She said she just wanted someone to help John at that stage and did not care about the property.
State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy, who performed a post-mortem examination on Mr O'Donoghue, found he had an enlarged heart and suffered from coronary heart disease, which put him at increased risk of sudden collapse and death at any time.
Her evaluation however was that his death could not be separated from the circumstances in which it occurred, as the stress would have increased his heart rate and blood pressure.
A jury returned a unanimous verdict of death from natural causes precipitated by the stress of discovering intruders at his home.
Coroner John McNamara said it was clear there was a close association between the burglary and Mr O'Donoghue's death and it was hard to untangle the two events.
He said we hear a lot about rural burglaries in the community and while Mr O’Donoghue knew about his underlying heart condition, he did not deserve to die in this traumatic way.
He praised local gardaí who arrived on the scene promptly and arrested two suspects who had tried to escape through back fields.
Cousins Michael Casey, 35, from Clonlong halting site in Limerick, and David Casey, 24, have both been convicted of the robbery at Mr O Donoghue's home and were initially given four-and-a-half year sentences at Limerick Circuit Court.
However, these were increased to seven years by the Court of Appeal last summer, after the DPP challenged the leniency of the sentences.
The O'Donoghue family thanked gardaí and their neighbours who helped John and Christine that day, and whose actions led to the accused men being arrested and convicted.