A PLUMBER has gone on trial for the manslaughter of a Limerick woman, who died three years ago in a hotel in Kinsale from acute carbon monoxide poisoning while on a hen party.
Richard Davis, 45, a heating and plumbing contractor, from Ballygarvan in Co Cork, has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Miriam Reidy, 35, from Ballyhahill, county Limerick.
She was found dead at the 75-bed, four-star Trident Hotel in Kinsale on January 9, 2011.
At the opening day of the trial this Wednesday, the jury heard that it is the State’s case that while the accused didn’t set out to harm her, his gross negligence led to her death.
Ms Reidy, a bank official with AIB, was in Kinsale with her older sister Patricia and a group of around 30 friends attending a cousin’s hen party, to celebrate the upcoming marriage of her cousin Marie Reidy.
Friends became concerned when they the sisters failed to check out of the hotel, and when their room was checked, Miriam was found dead, and Patricia was found unconscious.
An inquest later found Ms Reidy, who was one of three daughters born to John and Josie, had died of acute carbon monoxide poisoning.
Senior Counsel Brendan Grehan said it would be the State’s case that the hotel boiler was left spewing out lethal quantities of carbon monoxide gas because of Mr Davis’s alleged failure to correctly convert the boiler, leading to her death.
He said the jury would also hear evidence that in the direct aftermath of the incident, a carbon monoxide detector registered its highest level possible of 9999 and the boiler was immediately shut down.
Mr Grehan said the court would also hear that a doctor was called to several people in the hotel that night, including the deceased woman and her sister. He diagnosed the winter vomiting bug and gave both women an injection.
However, concerned at their whereabouts the following day, the alarm was raised when their cousin Marie, a nurse, found Ms Reidy without any pulse lying under a blanket on a bed, and Patricia curled up in the foetal position, shaking uncontrollably and moaning loudly.
Her sister was treated at Cork University Hosptial where she spent over a week before she was discharged.
As a director of Davis Heating and Plumbing Contractors Ltd, he has also pleaded not guilty to two charges under the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act.
The company Davis Heating and Plumbing Contractors also deny the same two charges relating to the conversion of a hotel boiler.
The jury of nine men and three women at Cork Circuit Criminal Court were told that the case before Judge Sean ó Donnabhain, could last up to three weeks and would hear from 100 witnesses.