Two bodies recovered from Lagan in two days

By Scott Jamison

The body of a South Belfast man, which was recovered from the River Lagan last week, was the second death along the same stretch of river in as many days.

Paul Leyden, who was a senior doctor in the Northern Trust, was found in the River Lagan near the Mary Peter’s Track last Monday (November 14).

The tragic discovery came the day after the body of Oran Rodgers (28) from County Derry was discovered in the river close to the Lock Keeper’s Inn.

Police are not treating the death of Dr Leyden, who was in his mid-50s and from Malone Hill Park off the Malone Road, as suspicious. His funeral service took place at St Brigid’s Church in Derryvolgie Avenue on Saturday (November 19) and he was buried in Roselawn Cemetery. He leaves behind wife Claire and sons Jamie and Simon.

Dr Leyden was appointed clinical director for anaesthetics for the Northern Trust last year. His friend Dr Stephen Austin from the Mater Hospital in north Belfast, who also trained under him, said the medical profession had lost a “star”.

“I trained under Paul when I was a junior doctor in the early 1990s and then subsequently worked with him in Antrim Hospital. Over the years I also stayed in contact with him via regular meetings and other events.

“As a teacher he was very helpful and provided great training. For myself and everyone else who trained under him, he was fantastic as he was always interested in what we were doing and keen to hear from us.

“He had taken on additional roles over the past year or so and I have heard other colleagues say he was very supportive of them as well, so it was obviously something he had kept on as he managed people.”

Dr Austin said the medical profession were still in shock at the death.

“I’ve been speaking to a number of people since his passing and everyone is saying the same things, that this is going to be a great loss for medicine, especially in the Northern Trust area, but also generally.

“Paul was a great guy and always friendly and easy to talk to, that will be my abiding memory of him.”

A police spokesperson said although neither death was being treated as suspicious, they would like to track the last movements of Dr Leyden prior to his death.

“He was mid-50s with a medium build, brown curly hair, approximately 6ft 1in in height and with green eyes. He was wearing cream chinos, white trainers, a white shirt and a dark-coloured jacket.

“Anyone who believes they saw this man either on the towpath or in the general area that morning or afternoon is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000.”

 

 

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