Friday, September 23, 2011

Michael Faherty: 'First Irish case' of death by spontaneous combustion

A man who burned to death in his home died as a result of spontaneous combustion, an Irish coroner has ruled.

It is believed to be the first case of its kind in Ireland.

West Galway coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin said it was the first time in 25 years of investigating deaths that he had recorded such a verdict.

Michael Faherty, 76, died at his home at Clareview Park, Ballybane, Galway on 22 December 2010.

An inquest in Galway on Thursday heard how investigators had been baffled as to the cause of death.

Forensic experts found a fire in the fireplace of the sitting room where the badly burnt body was found had not been the cause of the blaze that killed Mr Faherty.

The court was told that no trace of an accelerant had been found and there had been nothing to suggest foul play.

The court heard Mr Faherty had been found lying on his back with his head closest to an open fireplace.

The fire had been confined to the sitting room. The only damage was to the body, which was totally burnt, the ceiling above him and the floor underneath him.

Dr McLoughlin said he had consulted medical textbooks and carried out other research in an attempt to find an explanation. more