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Primark heir drowned in failed bid to save son and girlfriend as daughter aged 14 watched in horror

Mirror Mirror 27/04/2016 By Joshua Nevett

© Provided by Mirror The heir to high street giant Primark drowned at sea trying to save his son and his son's girlfriend as his 14-year-old daughter watching on in horror, an inquest heard.

Barr Ryan, 52, his son Barry Davis Ryan, 20, and his girlfriend Niamh O’Connor, 20, died when a freak wave swept them out to sea on June 30 2015.

Mr Ryan had jumped into the water at Baltimore rocks in West Cork after his son and his girlfriend, both 20, were dragged in during a fishing trip.

Mr Ryan's 14-year-old daughter has spoke of the moment she raced for help only to find them all dead upon her return, The Irish Mirror reports .

© Provided by Mirror Mr Ryan and Miss O’Connor were pronounced dead at the scene with the body of Barry Davis Ryan being recovered on July 10.

At the inquest in to their deaths in Clonakilty, Co Cork, Ms Davis Ryan gave evidence of raising the alarm.

In a statement she said the day was passing without incident until the wave hit.

Niamh and Barry Davis Ryan had been talking about buying a house and were in good spirits.

At 6pm a decision was made to go fishing. They climbed down the rocks to fish.

Barry Davis Ryan went further down the rocks and Niamh went over to join him.

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Charlotte said a big wave came and hit her and her dad and pushed them against the rocks.

Barry Davis Ryan and Niamh were pushed out to sea by the pressure of the wave.

The teenager said her dad made the decision to rescue the pair and she ran off to raise the alarm.

She said: "Niamh was screaming. My dad told me to keep going. He swam out to Niamh. I thought as I was walking up the hill that they would be okay and I was making a big deal of it.

© Provided by Mirror "I saw Barry was going backwards to the other side. Niamh and my dad were closer. I couldn’t see Barry. I started to panic. I was out of breath when I met tourists."

She revealed that Welsh tourists rang the coastguard.

She added: "I walked them down to the spot and they were holding my hand. Two bodies were found. Barry was further out."

Tourist Christine Burr Jones said she met Charlotte on the path. The girl told her “my family have drowned I know they have. My father, my brother and his girlfriend. I know they are dead. I saw their heads go down.”

Ms Burr Jones said Charlotte was in serious shock and trembling.

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Kieran Cotter, coxwain of Baltimore Lifeboat, said he was notified by Valentia Coastguard of an incident on the rocks at 6.36pm

Mr Cotter issued a general warning that anyone fishing near rocks should wear lifejackets.

Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster of CUH carried out postmortems on the deceased. She said all three victims died of acute respiratory failure consistent with drowning.

Coroner Dr Frank O’Connell recorded a verdict of accidental death in all three cases. He commended Barry Ryan for his efforts to save two lives.

He said: "He gave his life in the course of trying to save two others. He was obviously an extremely brave and courageous man to do what he did."

Mr Ryan and Mr Davis Ryan were the son and grandson of Penney’s founder, businessman Arthur Ryan while Ms O’Connor was the grandniece of former Cork GAA stars, Bertie Og and Tadgh Murphy.

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