Castlederg farmer killed by tree he cut down


An elderly man has died after being trapped underneath a tree that he had cut down.

The 73-year-old farmer had left the house during the afternoon to carry out the work in a field at Lettercarn Road, in a remote rural area to the south of Castlederg, Co Tyrone, on Friday.

The alarm was raised later that evening, and the ambulance service and fire brigade were called – but by then he was understood to have already passed away.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to one account, it appears that the tree he was working on had somehow rolled on top of him.

The deceased was named as Ernest Emery by UUP councillor Derek Hussey.

Mr Hussey has known him for decades, and said he had been a long-time member of First Castlederg Presbyterian Church, as well as a member of Ardbarron Pipe Band and the church’s bowls club.

Described by the UUP councillor as “the proverbial gentle giant”, he had stood at more than 6ft tall and was said to be “a strong, fit man” despite his advanced years.

Mr Hussey said: “From speaking to relatives what we understand is he’s gone out in the afternoon to cut down a tree.

“The tree had been felled, and had been branched as well, but it appeared that, whatever happened, the tree then rolled.”

Mr Emery, a grandfather, was said to have been alone at the property.

The funeral for him is to be held tomorrow, leaving the family home at 1.15pm and then going to Castlederg First Presbyterian Church. It is expected to be conducted by Reverend Robert Orr.

“He was a member of the church when I first came to Castlederg in 1972,” said Mr Hussey. “I’ve known Mr Emery for a considerable number of years, and would express my own personal shock, and I think the wider community’s shock, at his untimely death.

“I know that the local community will be supporting the wider family circle at this time, and I extend my sincerest sympathies to all.”

The Ambulance Service said it was called at 9.37pm on Friday.

The police yesterday said that they were looking into the sudden death of a man on Lettercarn Road, but offered no further details.

Mark Deeney, group commander with the Fire and Rescue Service, said that five crews were sent to the scene, and a specialist team was even dispatched from Belfast later that night – but that it had been a case of recovering his body, rather than rescuing him.