A grandfather was trampled to death after collapsing next to his horse, an inquest heard.
Horse enthusiast Michael Heagney, 77, from Bradley, was left with fatal injuries from the horse’s hooves after his sudden collapse had startled the animal.
Bradford coroner’s court heard this morning how Mr Heagney’s grandson had discovered him on the floor after he and father William Heagney heard a bang from the stable.
Mr Heagney’s son and grandson had been tending to a horse in a nearby block at the Quarry stables in Bradley – where the family own 10 horses – on Sunday, November 1, when the tragedy struck.
The court heard retired plant driver Mr Heagney, originally from Athlone, Ireland, had a medical history of angina and ischemic heart disease, and had been on antibiotics for a chest infection at the time of his death.
In a statement read out by coroner’s officer Fiona Turnbull, William Heagney said: “My father has kept horses most of his life.
“He attended the Quarry on a daily basis – we have 10 in total.
“He was an active man despite his medical condition – he walked there from the house which is a mile away every day.”
On the morning of his death, William Heagney said he had left his father at the bottom of the site.
“I heard a noise like a bang or a knock,” he said. “I told my son to go down and find out what it was.
“He went and shouted ‘he’s dead, dad’.”
The family called emergency services and an air ambulance later took Mr Heagney to the A&E department at Leeds General Infirmary where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.
The inquest heard how the eight-year-old male horse had been bred by the family, who had never had any concerns over his temperament.
Medical reports read out in court stated that Mr Heagney had suffered injuries to his head, chest and spine and internal bleeding in the incident, and was alive at the time of these injuries.
Pathologist’s reports said he was “unlikely” to have collapsed due to cardiac arrest, but wouldn’t rule it out completely.
Assistant coroner Mary Burke said: “It appears to me that Mr Heagney has stumbled.
“Has he stumbled because of a coughing fit due to his chest infection or a flutter of his heart? Sadly we’ll never know.
“He has landed on the ground – it was heard some distance away.
“The horse who was not facing in his direction must clearly have been startled by such a significant sound and the horses hooves have come into contact with him.
“The resulting injuries were the cause of death.”
Ms Burke recorded a verdict of accidental death.