Telling Life

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A dad killed in an electrocution tragedy had been playing with his baby girl in the sunshine just moments before.

Window cleaner Daniel McFarlane, 36, died on June 1 while testing out new equipment with a colleague at a dream cottage he had bought with his wife.

The reach and wash system, for cleaning windows on tall buildings, had been extended and acted as a conductor for power from an overhead pylon running over the house, giving both men a massive electric shock.

Minutes before, his wife, Ria, 40, had popped inside to feed baby Frankie-Joy, 11 months, and thought it was a “sick joke” when Daniel’s colleague ran in to tell her what had happened.

The mum-of-one said the couple had never planned to have kids but she is now finding raising her daughter is helping her cope with her loss as she struggles to get her head around the “incomprehensible” accident.

She described Daniel as her “total soulmate” and said the couple had a whirlwind romance, marrying less than two years after they met at a friend’s wedding.

Ria, who works as an accountant, said Daniel was so savvy and responsible about risks that she struggled to believe water had hit a pylon – and said he would take his wedding ring off at work to avoid it getting caught.

She believes electricity may have arced and hit the equipment, causing a massive shock which killed Daniel and seriously injured his colleague.

And she said the couple, who were married seven years, were at a point in their lives which they didn’t think was possible, after moving into the cottage near Haddington, East Lothian, in April.

Ria said: “We were at such a happy point in our lives, everything had just fallen into place.

“Even that day it was perfect, it was a really nice sunny day, Dan got home around 3pm.

“We were going to go out in the garden, I was going to have a glass of Prosecco, we had bought Frankie some stuff for her first birthday but decided to give it to her then instead.

“We got her a ball pool and we thought we’d give her that.

“Daniel had said to me ‘I think you should have a glass of wine, you’ve not had one in ages’ and had got some cans of Coke from the shop.

“He only got the equipment that day, it was too hot for Frankie so I took her inside to feed her.

“Daniel’s colleague came running in shouting ‘me and Dan have been electrocuted’ and I jumped off the bed.

“Dan was lying on the floor shaking, I thought it was a sick joke except he was struggling to breathe.

“I wasn’t allowed to touch him but I had already done.”

She said the aftermath was like a movie as 999 crews flooded the property including people in Hazmat suits, police vans and fire engines.

Ria believes Daniel died at their home rather than at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where medics continued to try to save him, but he was pronounced dead at 5.50pm.

His funeral will be on June 19.

Ria said: “We had just moved into the cottage, on April 30, I haven’t even unpacked everything.

“When we got the cottage we were pinching each other saying ‘stuff like this doesn’t happen to us’.

“I think he died here, they said he died at the hospital but I just felt it, I felt like he’d gone.

“Dan was so careful, he didn’t wear his wedding ring to work in case he caught it, he was really savvy, we had spoken about the pylon a lot.

“It was an accident, it wasn’t anybody’s fault but it doesn’t make any sense to me at all.”

Baby Frankie-Joy, who is able to say ‘mum’, ‘dad’ and ‘dog’, has been asking for Daniel since the tragedy happened.

Ria said: “I didn’t think I could have children because I was 39 at the time but I’m so glad she’s here now, she needs her mummy.

“She’s been asking for her dad, he was brilliant, he loved the new role of being a daddy.

“I’m going to stay here, where we were really happy even if it was just for a short amount of time.

“I feel close to him here, I can’t comprehend it, it feels like a bad dream.

“If Frankie wasn’t here I wouldn’t be coping at all but he is a part of her.

“We were total soulmates, our world’s revolved around each other, we were the strongest couple I know.

“We were made for each other – a woman who only met Dan once sent me a message saying ‘his face lit up when he talked about you and your daughter’.

“We had an enviable time, but life can turn in different directions with no warning.

“He was so savvy, that’s what doesn’t make sense to me.”

She finds consolation in believing that everything happens for a reason.

Ria added: “I have always thought ‘when your time’s up, your time’s up’ only you don’t know why it’s right now.

“It’s the most awful time, we have got a baby. I don’t think a lot of people have this.

“I won’t meet anyone I love that much again or that loves me that much, I know that for a fact.

“We had an enviable life.”

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