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Dublin: 5 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019
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Golf ball placed in dead man's throat as a 'prank'

A Dublin City coroner has expressed fury over a golf ball being placed in the throat of a dead man – calling the supposed prank “unconscionable and malicious”.

Dr Michael Curtis  said that the ball would have
Dr Michael Curtis said that the ball would have "undoubtedly" been discovered if it had been present at the original postmortem.
Image: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

AN DUBLIN CORONER expressed outrage yesterday during an investigation into how a golf ball was placed at the back of a dead man’s throat.

Dublin City coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that the incident was “unconscionable and malicious intrusion into a death investigation” and had greatly upset the man’s family.

Kevin O’Doherty, 48, of Castleside, Rathfarnham, died suddenly on 27 January, 2010. A postmortem conducted two days later found that the gardener had died of cardiac arrhythmia due to heart disease, reports the Irish Times.

O’Doherty’s body was then moved to an umdertaker’s mortuary for embalming. It was at this point that the golf ball was discovered.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis, who carried out a subsequent postmortem, confirmed that the item would have “undoubtedly” been discovered if it had been present at the original postmortem, the Belfast Telegraph reports.

A garda investigation was launched and Garda Det Insp JJ Keane concluded that someone had placed the golf ball there after the postmortem and before the embalming process, possibly as a prank. “We’re satisfied the golf ball had nothing to do with the death of Mr O’Doherty,” Det Insp Keane said.

However, those responsible were not found out: “We interviewed all of the staff at St James’s Hospital and at Fanagan’s and we’re at a loss as to how this came about,” he said.

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