Belfast Telegraph

Mystery over death of vagrant found in sea

By David Young

Mystery surrounds the death of a former butcher who opted for a life sleeping rough and gave away his possessions to those less fortunate, a coroner's court has heard.

While the body of Dubliner Fergal Kavanagh was found floating face down in the sea outside Ardglass harbour off the Co Down coast, his inquest was told the 54-year-old may actually have fallen into the water in his native city and drifted 80 miles northward.

Estimating the homeless man to have been in the Irish Sea for over a week before he was found by fishermen in August last year, a pathologist said it was impossible to determine an exact cause of death due to decomposition.

Dr Alastair Bentley, who told Belfast coroner's court that Mr Kavanagh had a heart condition, suggested possible scenarios.

"He may have had a heart attack and died and then fell into the water," he said. "He may have had some heart event then fallen into the water and drowned, he may have entered the water and suffered a heart attack."

There were no signs of injuries prior to death, he said.

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