Boy's death 'was not farm accident'

Published Wednesday, 24 July 2013
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The death of a six-year-old boy on a dairy farm in Co Armagh was not a farming accident but an undiagnosed heart condition, his mother has told UTV.

Boy's death 'was not farm accident'
Six-year-old Harry Starrett. (© Family photo)

Little Harry Starrett was found dead by his grandfather in the milking parlour of his farm on the Ballynahonemore Road shortly after 5pm on Tuesday.

Following a post-mortem on Wednesday morning, his family have confirmed that an underlying health condition was the cause.

His heartbroken family, including mum Alison and dad Mark, paid tribute to Harry as a lovely little daddy's boy who loved farming.

Every mother should hold their child close tonight.

Alison Starrett, Harry's mum

Harry was the eldest of four children and a big brother to five-year-old Ben and two small sisters - Rachel, three, and Phoebe who is just two.

Canon John McKegney was with the family last night and told UTV it was "heart-breaking for such a lovely family and for such a tragedy to befall them".

He added that they were finding the sudden loss of Harry impossible to take in.

"The one source of strength is that they're a very strong family, a very supportive family - they're there for each other. But they're in unchartered waters," Canon McKegney said.

"No one expects to lose a child."

Describing what was known to have happened, the minister explained that Harry had gone into the farm's milking parlour ahead of his grandfather, in preparation for the cows coming in to be milked.

His grandfather followed him in almost immediately, but the little boy was already dead on the floor.

"The grandfather lost a son some years ago in a road accident - he was buried on Christmas Eve. That was his eldest son and this is his eldest grandson," Canon McKegney added.

"It really is a great tragedy for the family."

Local DUP councillor Freda Donnelly, who knows the family well, told UTV that the loss was any parent's worst nightmare.

"The wee boy himself was a lovely wee boy, just a happy wee boy - absolutely loved farming. He will be such a huge loss to his family," Ms Donnelly said.

"He was helping out on his grandfather's farm - the family actually live quite close to the grandfather. It's a huge devastation."

Words won't relay how much people are thinking about them and praying for them at this difficult time.

Freda Donnelly, DUP

A PSNI spokesperson confirmed that police and the Northern Ireland Health and Safety Executive had attended the scene of the sudden death of a child.

Lord Mayor of Armagh Robert Turner told UTV that local people were in a state of shock.

"I want to, on behalf of the entire community, extend my heartfelt sympathy to the family. I will be visiting the family home later today," the Ulster Unionist representative said.

"A little boy of six-years-old on the family farm - parents very proud, grandparents very proud of this wee boy carrying on the family tradition, and for something like this to happen ...

"It's unbelievable and no one can imagine how the family feel at this time."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
34 Comments
deirdre agnew in lisburn wrote (490 days ago):
pleae god help the mum and dad and family for the loss of little Harry, same happened to our family, my little daughter died sudden aged 14 Ciára, 12 years on , I can't even start to put into words what this does to a family, may god give them the strength to carry this terrible loss , prayers sent to all the family from Deirdre a grieving mum xx
Jane in Belfast wrote (490 days ago):
I am do terribly sorry for the loss of your beautiful little boy. I know that no one can say any words of comfort. Thinking if you all and your little son at this very sad time.
jackie in belfast wrote (490 days ago):
God Bless this family and give them strength to carry on!Absolutely heartbreaking.
norman.d in bangor wrote (490 days ago):
My thought and prayers to this family at their sad loss of their child may God bless this family at this sad time
Faye in Bangor wrote (490 days ago):
Heartbreaking. What a beautiful little boy. Prayers for his family. Another little angel in the sky.
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