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Family weep at hotel gas death not guilty ruling

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Sister of the late Miriam Reidy, Siobhan Barret pictured speaking on behalf of the Reidy family outside Cork Circuit Court.

Sister of the late Miriam Reidy, Siobhan Barret pictured speaking on behalf of the Reidy family outside Cork Circuit Court.

Miriam Reidy

Miriam Reidy

Sister of the late Miriam Reidy, Siobhan Barret pictured speaking on behalf of the Reidy family outside Cork Circuit Court.

THE family of a young bank worker who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in an Irish hotel spoke of their heartbreak after a safety prosecution over her death was dismissed.

Miriam Reidy's relations said they were "extremely disappointed" after a Cork Circuit Criminal Court jury acquitted plumber Richard Davis (46) on safety and manslaughter charges.

Davis was found not guilty of the manslaughter of Ms Reidy (35) on January 9, 2011 in Room 113 of the Trident Hotel in Kinsale, Co Cork.

Conversion

He was also found not guilty as a director of Davis Heating and Plumbing of two breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 brought over the conversion of a Worcester Bosch boiler in the hotel on January 4.

The company itself was also acquitted of two similar charges.

Davis held his head in his hands after the jury of nine men and three woman brought back not guilty verdicts on all charges after five hours of deliberation over two days.

The trial had lasted three weeks before Judge Sean O Donnabhain.

Davis, of Killanully, Ballygarvan, Co Cork, had denied all the charges against him.

His defence team insisted that multiple factors were involved in the tragedy, including the weather conditions and the failure to fire-seal the service ducts through which the carbon-monoxide got into the bedrooms from the boiler house.

But the State claimed Davis had shown gross negligence in the conversion of the new boiler from natural gas to liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

After his acquittal, the plumber declined to comment.

"Richard Davis does not wish to make any formal statement out of respect for the late Ms Reidy and her family," a spokesman said.

The Reidy family, including Miriam's mother Josie, and her sisters, Patricia and Siobhan, wept after the verdict was delivered.

Speaking later, Siobhan said the family are still devastated.

"This has been very long and difficult journey for us, the Reidy family, since January 9, 2011. We are extremely disappointed with the outcome today.

"Miriam's sudden and untimely death has left a huge void in our family that can never be filled," she said.

"We live with this heartache every day. We are extremely saddened that Miriam never got the opportunity to live her life to her dreams."

Her sister, Patricia, almost died in Room 113 only being saved by her cousin, Marie, whose hen party they were attending in Kinsale.

Family

"Miriam was so looking forward to moving into her new home with her boyfriend in May 2011, getting married and building a new life together and having a family of her own one day," Patricia said.

"Not a day goes by that we don't think about her," her mother Josie said.

British heating expert, Richard Siddons, told the trial the hotel boiler's carbon monoxide output was "off the scale" during a safety test following the tragedy.

Mr Siddons said he was satisfied the new boiler which had not been properly commissioned was the source of the carbon monoxide involved.

hnews@herald.ie


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