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Hotel boiler was spewing out lethal gas, court is told

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Richard Davis

Richard Davis

Richard Davis

A YOUNG bank worker died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a hotel where a boiler was "spewing out" the colourless, tasteless but lethal gas.

The revelation came as plumber Richard Davis denied the manslaughter of Miriam Reidy (35) after the State claimed he had shown gross negligence in the conversion of a new boiler from natural gas to liquid petroleum gas (LPG) at the Trident Hotel in Kinsale, Co Cork.

Mr Davis (45) has gone on trial before Cork Circuit Criminal Court for the manslaughter of Ms Reidy in her hotel room on January 9, 2011.

Ms Reidy, a Tralee-based bank worker originally from Ballyhahill, Co Limerick, was attending a hen party for her cousin, Marie.

Mr Davis, of Killanully, Bally- garvan, Co Cork, denies all charges.

As a director of Davis Heating and Plumbing Contractors Ltd he also faces two charges under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005).

These allege that, around January 4, 2011, he failed to properly convert a Worcester Bosch Greenstar boiler at the Trident Hotel for LPG use.

Davis Heating and Plumbing Contractors Ltd, of Unit 9, Portside, Marina Commercial Park, Centre Park Road, Cork, also faces two similar charges.

In opening the case, Brendan Grehan SC, for the State, said evidence will be given that the boiler in question was "spewing out" carbon monoxide.

lifeless

The State claims Mr Davis did not correctly convert the boiler, did not follow the manufacturer's precise instructions and failed to conduct a safety test.

Mr Grehan told the jury that, because January 9, 2011 was both cold and windless, carbon monoxide built up from the boiler and entered overhead bedrooms via service ducts.

The State contends that while the defendant did not set out to deliberately hurt anyone, he had been grossly negligent in his duty of care over his work.

Sisters Miriam and Patricia Reidy, who complained of feeling ill at the hotel at 6am, were treated by a GP for the suspected winter vomiting bug.

They were later discovered in Room 113 by their concerned cousin, Marie.

"Miriam Reidy was lying on a bed nearest the door and was lifeless," Mr Grehan said. "Her only thought (Marie's) was that Patricia recognised her and she saw the fear in her eyes."

Patricia recovered, but Marie was pronounced dead.

The case, before Judge Sean O'Donnabhain, involves up to 100 witnesses and could last four weeks.

hnews@herald.ie


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