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Rider’s death was ‘tragic accident’

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By Euan Maxwell
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Rider’s death was ‘tragic accident’

THE death of a horse rider was the result of a “tragic and unpreventable accident” at Carrutherstown, a sheriff has ruled.

Natasha Galpin was thrown from a horse after it fell ill while she was riding at Iain Jardine Racing at 8.25 am on January 15, 2019.

Emergency services rushed the 22-year-old to Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and she was then transferred to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where she died the following day.

Sheriff Brian Mohan presided over the Fatal Accident Inquiry at Dumfries Sheriff Court into the circumstances surrounding her death.

He heard that Miss Galpin — who began riding as a six-year-old and was a Scottish Champion for eventing — was riding a horse when it collapsed suddenly while running.

The stable lass was thrown off and struck the ground head first where she thereafter lay motionless.

Although she was wearing an appropriate helmet and other protective clothing, she suffered a catastrophic head and brain injury and immediately became unconscious.

Colleagues placed her in the recovery postion and an ambulance was called. Upon their arrival Miss Galpin, who lived in Moffat, was observed to be having seizures, with paramedics forming the opinion that she had suffered a massive brain injury.

The sheriff was told that Miss Galpin never regained consciousness.

Upon arrival at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, she was immediately assessed by the trauma team. She was agitated, had a reduced consciousness level and had clear signs of head trauma and potential brain injury.

A CT scan was carried out which demonstrated an intra-cerebral bleed to the left side of her brain.
It was quickly decided to transfer her to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. The expert medical opinion of Dr Roddy O’Kane there was that the brain damage which she had suffered in the fall was untreatable.

In a consultation with her next of kin, she was made comfortable and the following day her ventilator was withdrawn, and she was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Medics concluded that Miss Galpin had died as a consequence of sustaining a brain haemorrhage.
Sheriff Mohan also said that medical records for the horse, Eagle Crag didn’t disclose the animal to be in poor health – and noted it had competed at Kelso two weeks before the incident.

He said that the evidence showed that investigations carried out by Police Scotland and the Health and Safety Executive couldn’t find any faults at the Iain Jardine Racing gallops.

In a written judgement, published yesterday, Sheriff Mohan said: “Natasha Galpin’s parents are devastated by the loss of their daughter at such a young age. She was on the cusp of adulthood.

“Her death was sudden, and she died doing something she loved. Natasha died as the result of a tragic, immediate, unforeseen and unforeseeable accident.

“The riding of horses carries risks, but the evidence demonstrated that there was no foreseeable risk which could have avoided this tragedy, and no step which could have been taken realistically to prevent this.

“I would like to express my condolences to the family of Miss Galpin and my thanks for the hard work and detailed preparation of the solicitors who participated at the hearing.

“My conclusion is that Natasha’s death was the result of a tragic, unpreventable accident.”

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