| 10°C Dublin

I tried to save her, crying sister tells poison gas trial

A WOMAN sobbed as she told a court how she did everything in her power to save herself and her younger sister in a hotel bedroom filled with lethal carbon-monoxide.

Patricia Reidy-Russell (40) wept as she said she first realised her sister Miriam (35) was dead when she awoke in the intensive care unit of Cork University Hospital (CUH) to see her entire family gathered around her bedside.

"I tried so hard to save her, but the efforts I made were not enough," she said.


The revelation came as she gave evidence on the second day of the Circuit Criminal Court trial of plumber Richard Davis.

He denies 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.

Davis (45) has gone on trial for the manslaughter of Ms Reidy in her hotel room on January 9, 2011.

Both Limerick sisters had been in Kinsale to attend the hen party of their cousin, Marie.

They had left the party at 1am on January 9 and returned to Room 113 in the Trident where they initially complained about the cold. Both awoke at 4am feeling very ill and were treated by a GP for the suspected winter vomiting bug.

Patricia initially feared that their drinks had been spiked or that they had food poisoning.

She noted that Miriam had fallen to the floor on returning from the bathroom and had been sick on her bed.

"I just remember getting an overwhelming feeling of something not being right," she said.

Patricia's last recollection is of going back to bed when the GP left.

Other guests were treated for similar illness complaints that night.

"I have a very vague memory of vomiting and being so weak I couldn't lift my head on the pillow," she said.

"I then woke up in hospital in the intensive care unit," she said. "My family members were around me. I tried to talk but I had the life support [tubes] on me.

"I was looking to see her [Miriam]. My sister, Siobhan, was holding my hand and on the palm of her hand I wrote 'Mir'.

"I saw my father, my mother, my sister, my husband. If they were all around me I knew Miriam had passed on. I was very close to her."

Their cousin, Marie, discovered the two sisters lying in room 113.


"Miriam was lifeless lying on the bed," she said. "Patricia was on the bed nearest the window and she was moaning. She looked at me. She was so afraid."

Marie, a nurse, worked to resuscitate Patricia, but Miriam had no pulse and no cardiac reading. She was pronounced dead before she could be transferred to CUH.

Mr Davis, of Killanully, Ballygarvan, Co Cork, denies all the charges against him.

The case, before Judge Sean O'Donnabhain and a jury of nine men and three women, will involve up to 100 witnesses and could last four weeks.