Belfast Telegraph

Woman died in freak accident after fainting on top of broken glass

By Chris McCullough

A woman died in a freak accident when she fainted and landed on top of a glass of water, a court has heard.

The death of Dawn McGookin from Carrickfergus, was described as a terrible tragedy for the family circle.

She passed away on October 26, 2015 at her home after falling onto a glass tumbler which smashed as she landed on it, severing arteries and jugular veins in her neck, her inquest was told.

The 40-year-old was found the next morning by her boss, who had come to check on Dawn as it was very unusual she had not turned up to work that Monday.

During the inquest at Laganside Court, Coroner Patrick McGurgan found that Dawn's death was due to a "tragic accident, with no suspicious circumstances".

He also said Dawn was a much loved sister and daughter and that the accident had a dramatic impact on the family.

Dawn had been enjoying a get-together with the family of her boyfriend, John Brady, and afterwards had complained of not feeling well.

Around 6pm that evening Dawn vomited twice and complained of pains in her stomach. John had suggested Dawn stay at his house that evening, but she wanted to return to her own house.

Dawn then drove her car from John's house to her own, but then decided to visit her sister, Reah Rose McGookin, who is a doctor.

She only attended her sister's house for less than five minutes and in that time Dr McGookin prescribed some medication for her stomach pains and to help her sleep, the court was told.

John then took Dawn home and waited around 45 minutes with her while she got into bed before going to his own home.

At approximately 9pm, Reah called her sister to see how she was. Dawn reported that she was feeling better and Reah advised her to put a glass of water beside her bed in case she got dehydrated.

Reah called her sister again in the morning but there was no answer to calls or texts, the inquest heard.

Dawn had gone downstairs to get some water and was dressed in her pyjamas, a dressing gown and fleece type bed socks.

As she was leaving the kitchen she is believed to have fainted and fell on the glass which shattered, severing arteries in her neck, the court was told.

The following morning when Dawn did not turn up for work, her boss at Prestige Insurance in Carrickfergus was so concerned that she went to her house to see what was wrong. When Shirley Dallas arrived at the property on the Monday morning she noticed the door was locked and Dawn was lying face down in the hallway in a large pool of blood.

She immediately called the emergency services and a neighbour who forced open the door to gain entry.

The investigating officer who arrived at the scene was Constable Henderson, who told the court there was no sign of a disturbance at the property.

He described Dawn's position as looking like 'a fallen soldier' with her arms under her body.

Pathologist Marjorie Turner told the court that Dawn died as a result of a haemorrhage and a sharp force injury of the neck.

"Glass was recovered from the left side of the neck and from her right hand," she said.

"The glass had cut arteries and jugular veins in her neck resulting in heavy blood loss. But I can add she was unconscious when she fell."

Dawn's parents, James and Reah McGookin, said they both missed her very much and that they loved their daughter a lot.

James said: "We used to go to church together every Sunday and she would then come to our house for dinner, but that particular Sunday she had went with her boyfriend to a family celebration. It is comforting to know that Dawn did not suffer."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph