DUBLIN, IRELAND — A thief lost his life as he tried to make his escape on a bicycle after stealing a mobile phone, an inquest heard yesterday. Wayne Devoy, 24, cycled at speed straight into rush-hour traffic, hitting a bus and suffering fatal injuries after he had robbed a mobile phone.

The tragic incident happened at the junction of Litton Lane and Bachelor's Walk, one of the main thoroughfares in Dublin city.

Lynott's cell phone was swiped out of his hand by the cyclist.

Gerard Lynott said his mobile was "swiped" out of his hand by Devoy as he was talking outside a hostel on Litton Lane at 5pm on August 23 2001.

"I had to get my phone back and I ran after him, but I didn't call out. There wasn't a hope I was going to catch him," he said.

The thief was not pausing for pedestrians and went straight into the front of a bus.

"I couldn't believe he was cycling at such high speed onto Bachelor's Walk. He was not pausing for pedestrians and went straight into the front of a bus."

Eyewitness Lindsey Murphy told the Dublin City coroner's court that Devoy came out of the lane very fast.

"He didn't bother to look and as he turned right he went into the bus full force."

John Nickson, a passenger on the Number 90 Dublin Bus,said he saw Devoy "flashing out of the lane".

"I recoiled my hands up as I thought he was going to hit where I was seated. It frightened me so much I can't remember the details."

Devoy's mother Rita, sobbed uncontrollably during the hearing, which was also attended by her sons Gary and Jonathan.

Bus driver Dermot Daly said he did not see the crash. He said the deceased hit the bus between the front and middle doors.

Passerby Felix Murray, experienced in first aid, said Devoy was breathing heavily and made an effort to get up, but collapsed before an ambulance arrived.

Garda Brendan O'Sullivan said Devoy could not be identified initially but when they checked his fingerprints his name came up and they contacted the family.

Devoy, from Sean Tracey House flat complex, Buckingham Street, Dublin 1, was first brought to Mater Hospital A&E. He was transferred to the intensive care unit at Beaumont Hospital, where he died eight days later.

The post mortem showed he died from swelling and bruising to the brain as a result of severe head injuries.

The jury returned a verdict of accidental death, which was welcomed by Rita Devoy.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell described the accident as tragic and expressed his deepest sympathies to the family.