An inquest has established that Patrick Rowland from Lahardane, who went missing from a ward at Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar, in the early hours of January 17 last year, afterwards fell into the town river close to the Educate Together National School.

Mr. Rowland, who was 69, left the hospital in freezing weather conditions, wearing only pajamas and a pair of slippers.

 After leaving the hospital, he rang his son Cormac, who lives in Parke, Castlebar, to collect him and made his way to Market Square via Mountain View and Ellison Street.

 Garda Padraig O’Connor has given evidence to the inquest into Mr. Rowland’s death that the major search operation which was mounted in the wake of his disappearance from the hospital became focused on the town river following the discovery of one of his slippers.

 Garda O’Connor said there was a large drop of approximately 20 to 25 feet into the river where the slipper was found.

 The last sighting on CCTV of Mr. Rowland showed him standing at the rear of the bridge at the County Cleaners in Newtown.

Two days later the body of Mr. Rowland, a retired Procurement Manager with Volex Ireland, was recovered from the town river in the Ballynew area of Castlebar.

 Mr. Rowland had been brought by ambulance to MUH from his home at Tubbernavine, Lahardane, on January 15, 2023. He was diagnosed as suffering from pneumonia and was also treated for sepsis.

The inquest being conducted this week at Swinford Courthouse by the Coroner for the District of Mayo, Pat O’Connor, is examining all the circumstances of the death.

A number of relatives of Patrick Rowland’s including his wife, Louisa, son Cormac and daughter-in-law, Marcella, have given evidence to the inquest.

Cormac Rowland testified that when he got the call from his father asking him to be brought home he had implored him to return to the hospital.

Cormac explained that he had seen his father only half an hour earlier in the hospital bed that had been secured for him after many hours on a trolley.

 He described his feelings on receiving the phone call from his father as “incredible” and “beyond crazy”.

 When Cormac Rowland arrived in Castlebar after rushing there from his home there was no trace to be found of his Dad and a major search operation was mounted.

 Mr. Rowland told Roger Murray (Callan Tansey & Company), his family’s legal representative at the inquest proceedings, his father had never shown any indication of wanting to self harm.

He added that what had happened keeps him awake at night and fills him with anger.

The inquest is due to resume at 2 p.m. today (Wednesday) before adjourning until tomorrow (Thursday).




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