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The incident took place on the 28 July 2022 in Rathmines, Dublin. Sam boal

Man died while practicing on motorbike he'd bought four days earlier, inquest hears

Padraig Connolly was killed while practicing on his newly-bought motorbike just two days before his first lesson.

A LEARNER MOTORCYCLIST was killed while on a practice run on a lane behind his home with a motorbike he had bought just four days earlier, an inquest has heard.

Padraig Connolly (27), a computer scientist who came originally from Carga, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash at St Clare’s Avenue in Rathmines in the early hours of 28 July 2022.

An inquest at Dublin District Coroner’s Court heard evidence from a number of witnesses that Padraig had been seen riding his newly-bought, second-hand KTM Duke 390 motorcycle in the lane behind the apartment where he lived at Grosvenor Square in Rathmines.

Mr Connolly’s former girlfriend, Lara Prest, gave evidence that the deceased had always dreamed of owning a motorcycle, although she believed he had never actually taken a ride on one.

Prest said she was opposed to the idea as she believed motorcycles were dangerous.

She recalled Padraig  telling her that he was going to buy a motorcycle and that he had lessons booked for 30 July 2022.

Samuel Bularu, who sold Mr Connolly the motorcycle via DoneDeal, said the deceased had told him that he did not have a driving licence to ride it but was in the process of getting one.

Mr Connolly’s landlord, Gearóid O’Dea, said he had seen a motorcyclist on St Clare’s Avenue on the evening of 27 July 2022 which he originally believed was a food delivery driver.

However, O’Dea said he then realised it was Padraig practising on his motorbike.

Another tenant, Stephen O’Connor, who is also a motorcyclist, said he had advised Mr Connolly against riding the vehicle before doing his Initial Basic Training course for motorcycles.

O’Connor said he believed it would be risky for Mr Connolly because of his inexperience as well as the fact that vehicles “fly around corners” in the area.

He gave evidence of seeing Padraig again on 27 July 2022 when the deceased informed him he had got the vehicle insured that day.

Another local resident, Monique Pirez, said she had seen the victim on the same evening when was unsteady with the motorbike.

“He was like a kid on a bike for the first time” she added.

A forensic collision investigator, Garda Ger Dowd, said CCTV footage had captured Mr Connolly travelling at 14km/h when he was just 66 metres from the wall at the crash site.

Garda Dowd said he had found evidence of emergency braking at four metres from the wall. The witness said he believed the motorcycle had accelerated at some point causing the victim to lose temporary control of the vehicle.

Garda Dowd said the speed at impact with the wall was enough to break the front wheel of the motorbike. He also confirmed that tests had shown there were no mechanical defects with the vehicle.

The court heard that an expert had examined Mr Connolly’s helmet and assessed it as an “entry-level” model that would be more suitable for use with mopeds. The expert also concluded that “a better brand of helmet may have reduced the level of injury.”

While Mr Connolly may have been lying on the ground for an hour before his body was discovered by a couple of passers-by, the coroner Aisling Gannon said postmortem results indicated that death would have been instantaneous because of the catastrophic nature of his injuries.

The coroner confirmed the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the victim’s head and neck.

Garda Thomas Fitzgerald said Mr Connolly was unresponsive and lying face down on the ground when he arrived at the scene at around 2.20am. Garda Fitzgerald said there also appeared to be “a red substance” which he believed was blood behind the visor of Mr Connolly’s helmet.

A jury of nine men and one woman returned a verdict of accidental death. The deceased’s father, Vincent Connolly, described his son as “a happy, go lucky lad”, while the inquest heard he had a love of hiking, cooking and Manchester United.

Fighting back tears, his mother, Mary, said her son had worked hard all his life and never given her any trouble.

Although his family did not want him to ride a motorcycle, Ms Connolly said it was part of his plans to travel around Europe and other parts of the world.

“He just wasn’t able for the bike he bought,” she sobbed.

Sean McCarthaigh