Mum’s grief at Tiffer’s death from ‘silent killer’

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

The late Christopher 'Tiffer' Morris giving his mum Shanny a kiss as a child and below. He died in Argentina in May

The late Christopher 'Tiffer' Morris giving his mum Shanny a kiss as a child. He died in Argentina in May

THE family of a young man who tragically died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning have spoken of the “excruciating pain” his death brings every day, in the hope that other families are spared a similar loss.

Christopher ‘Tiffer’ Morris, 30, lost his life while in Argentina, on May 31 last.

It is understood that a combination of the carbon monoxide that was produced by the shower in the apartment he was staying in, and a lack of ventilation, resulted in the deaths of both Tiffer and his friend, Munra Borghi.

Tiffer’s father, racing trainer Mouse Morris, mother Shanny, and her husband Bruree-based trainer Enda Bolger, are hoping that by speaking about their own personal experience during Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, they will alert people to the seriousness of the ‘silent killer’.

“The pain and tears we suffer every day is excruciating and will affect us for the rest of our lives,” said Shanny.

“It is not something that time will ever heal. People need to be aware of the seriousness of carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t think it will never happen to you or yours – it can happen to anybody,” she emphasised.

Tiffer Morris was a healthy young man in the prime of his life. He was a regular visitor to Athlacca and had attended point-to-point festivals and cross-country rides in the village.

The qualified chef, who was originally from Fethard, County Tipperary, had worked in London for several years. He was having an amazing experience travelling around South America and intended on returning to Ireland to start up a business. He was also an accomplished drummer.

“He had just performed on stage in Mendoza on the Saturday night. He passed away on the Sunday having come home from the concert. A friend found them,” Shanny explained.

Tiffer was found lying on a bed. Shanny became aware of her son’s passing early on June 2.

“At 6am we were informed that a message was posted on Tiffer’s Facebook page asking for a member of his family to phone Mendoza urgently as there had been an accident,” she recalled.

“Trying to dial numbers when you know there is something seriously wrong is extremely difficult.” Tiffer’s father, Mouse, managed to get through and spoke to Michelle Fernandez, in whose band Tiffer had performed. She broke the tragic news of his death.

“Michelle explained that she had become concerned when she hadn’t heard from either Tiffer or Munra since the concert, so went to the apartment to check on them.

“She knew they were in, as she could hear their phones ringing and could see their wallets on the sitting room table, through the window,” said Shanny. Michelle called the police, who arrived promptly, and they broke down the door to discover the tragedy.

The lives of Mouse, Shanny and Enda, and Tiffer’s only brother Jamie, have been changed forever. As indeed have those of Munra’s family.

Shanny admits that she cries every single day for the loss of her son and sleep comes with great difficulty. “The panic attacks when you realise it’s true are overwhelming,” she said.

The carbon monoxide in the shower was so strong that it killed Munra within minutes. “The carbon monoxide gas crept from the bathroom through a corridor to the bedroom and killed Tiffer in his sleep, is what we understand. The police investigation is ongoing,” Shanny pointed out.

Carbon monoxide has no smell, taste or colour and is sometimes called the ‘silent killer’.

When it is inhaled, it causes chemical asphyxiation. Although feeling unwell, victims of carbon monoxide poisoning become so disoriented that they can no longer decide what to do next, including being unable to exit the building or call for assistance.

Being affected while asleep is the most dangerous situation as the victim will not wake as a result.

“This is what happened to Tiffer,” Shanny explained.

Tiffer’s family are urging people to install carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. They cost less than €20 and take seconds to install.

PhoneWatch is the country’s only provider of monitored household carbon monoxide alarms.