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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Inquest hears how O'Grady tried to save wife Maria after hunting fall

Maria O'Grady: suffered injuries to chest and abdomen
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Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer Edward O'Grady has described how he rushed to help his wife after she fell with her horse in a hunting accident but immediately thought she was dead.

An inquest has found that Maria O'Grady died as a result of severe crush injuries to her chest and abdomen, sustained during a hunt at Grantstown, County Tipperary, on November 25 last year.

The coroner's court in Clonmel heard on Friday how hunt members and then paramedics tried to keep O'Grady, 54, alive after her horse fell on top of her after failing to clear a wall, but she was unresponsive and was pronounced dead at the scene.

O'Grady's husband and two young daughters daughters Mimi and Rosie Mae were among 30 to 40 members who were participating in the Tipperary hunt at the time.

In a deposition to the inquest, the legendary trainer outlined how they came upon a wall on to a road.

Three or four people jumped the wall with their horses and then Mrs O'Grady attempted to do the same, but her horse failed to negotiate it and turned over on the landing side, falling on top of her. "She couldn't get clear," he said, describing it as a rotational fall.

"I jumped off my horse and was probably the first to get to her and my immediate impression was that she was dead," O'Grady added.

Other members of the hunt came to her aid and performed CPR for about 20 minutes until the first ambulance arrived, and paramedics then worked on Mrs O'Grady for another 20 or 30 minutes. 

Consultant pathologist Dr Rob Landers performed an autopsy at University Hospital Waterford the following day and said O'Grady suffered multiple rib injuries which caused a "massive internal bleed" into the chest cavity as well as a ruptured spleen and left kidney.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death and the coroner, Paul Morris, offered his condolences to Maria O'Grady's family and friends, as did the jury and Inspector James White on behalf of the gardaí.

"Unfortunately," Mr Morris said, "sporting endeavours as pleasurable as a hunt do have their inherent risks and it's tragic that, in this instance, in the accident which occurred Maria sustained fatal injuries."

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I jumped off my horse and was probably the first to get to her and my immediate impression was that she was dead

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