Cold snap a factor in deaths of couple
A couple in their 60s found dead in a flat in a council-run complex for older people died of natural causes brought on by the cold weather in recent days.
John Glennon (68) and Debbie McEvoy (64) were found huddled together on the floor of the inner-city Dublin flat. There was no heating system in use at the property when they perished.
Postmortems have found Mr Glennon died of heart failure while Ms McEvoy’s cause of death was hypertension, otherwise referred to as high blood pressure.
Garda sources said the underlying health conditions from which they both died at the same time proved fatal due to the cold snap since the end of last week.
“They were found on the floor huddled together, fully clothed, but there was no heating in the flat,” said one source familiar with the case. The postmortems revealed the couple had died more than 24 hours before they were found on Monday afternoon. They had not eaten for a period before their deaths but had consumed alcohol.
Sources said the flat was in very poor condition and Mr Glennon’s and Ms McEvoy’s health and physical appearance in recent times suggested they had neglected themselves for some time.
The old people’s flats at Drumalee Court, Stoneybatter, are run by Dublin City Council. A Council spokesman said the council supplied heating “to all its residents”. He declined to comment further.
The deaths come just days after the anniversary of the death of Rachel Peavoy, a 30-year-old mother of two who died of hypothermia on January 11th, 2010, in a flat in Ballymun, north Dublin, where the heating had been turned off. The flat where the deceased were found on Monday afternoon was Mr Glennon’s home.
Concerns for the couple’s welfare emerged when efforts by health board workers to contact them at the weekend failed. Gardaí were called on Monday.
The deceased were friends and are said to have recently formed a relationship. Ms McEvoy was a nurse and recently had worked for an agency. From Newry, Co Down, she had an address in Cabra, Dublin. Mr Glennon was originally from Co Offaly and walked with the aid of a Zimmer frame.
Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins urged people to check on older neighbours and family members and said it was vital older people kept warm in the cold weather. “The temperature in your home is crucial,” he said. “When temperatures fall below 16 degrees there is an increased risk of respiratory problems. Where it drops below 12 degrees there is an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.”