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Inquest into man killed on Keady Road concerns coroner

The inquest into the death of a man killed on the Keady Road outside Armagh City has prompted a senior coroner to raise serious concerns with Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy.

Geoffrey Robb, 56, from Portadown, was killed when a tree fell on the minibus he had been travelling in.

His colleague Sharon Feathers was seriously injured in the accident.

He was making his way back from the Keady area having dropped two passengers off.

Coroner John Leckey told yesterday’s inquest that he was concerned that trees with shallow roots of just six-eight inches on the Keady Road were another “accident waiting to happen”.

A post-mortem revealed he had suffered multiple chest and neck injuries.

The Coroner’s findings were:

■ The deceased died from chest and neck injuries sustained when a tree fell on the minibus he was driving on Keady Road, Armagh, on the evening of March 26, 2015.

■ He had not been wearing a seatbelt and he died at the scene.

■ A specialist examination of the tree revealed that it had shallow roots and, along with other surrounding trees, was weight-bearing towards the road.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that tree surgeon Colin Hylands told the inquest the fallen beech tree was not planted, but probably grew from a seedling and could have been 150 years old.

“It strikes me that if the root depth is six-eight inches, there is a high probability other trees will be no different,” said Mr Leckey.

Mr Leckey said there was “potential for another disaster to happen”.

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