Coroner records open conclusion in death of experienced hill walker

Terry Rooney died in Glencoe on December 23, 2019. Picture: Scottish Police

Terry Rooney died in Glencoe on December 23, 2019. Picture: Scottish Police - Credit: Archant

An experienced outdoor pursuits enthusiast was found dead on a Scottish mountain by a group of walkers, an inquest has heard.

Terence Rooney, 65, from Poringland Road in Stoke Holy Cross, was discovered 700 metres up Buachaille Etive Mòr, Glencoe, in West Scotland, on the snow line on December 23 last year.

At an inquest at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on June 3, senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said a post-mortem examination by consultant pathologist Dr Mark Ashton revealed the medical cause of death as exposure and hypothermia due to winter hill walking.

She recorded an open conclusion.

Mrs Lake said: “He was well-equipped for hill walking. There is no evidence as to exactly what the reason was for Mr Rooney’s stopping on the hill. There is no evidence as to what occurred prior to his death. There are no signs of injury, no indication of any fall, no indication of any illness that would have led him to sit down. He had warm clothing on him, a compass to tell him where to go, a foil blanket and food and drink on him.

“I’m in some difficulty in how Mr Rooney came by his death. Should any further evidence become available in the future then the inquest can be reopened and more evidence can be heard.”

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Evidence read out at the inquest heard how the heating engineer, who had one son, was an experienced hill walker.

He would spend time in Glencoe and Scotland over Christmas, according to evidence from friend Sue Robinson who added: “Glencoe was his favourite place to be.”

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Mr Rooney, who had no health problems, was on his own at the time of his death and no alcohol was discovered in his system.

The inquest heard how Mr Rooney was discovered by a group of walkers at about 10.30am when the weather was drizzling with low cloud.

One of the walkers phoned 999 and police and Glencoe Mountain Rescue Team came to the mountain, where he was airlifted from after weather conditions deteriorated.

His car was found in a nearby parking area.

After his death Mr Rooney, known as Terry, was described as having a “mischievous sense of humour”.

He was also a keen outdoor swimmer and member of the Sea Palling Seals.

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