Mother died of hypothermia after 'council turned heat off'


A YOUNG Dublin mother of two died of hypothermia during last January’s cold snap after the city council turned off her heating, an inquest has heard.

Rachel Peavoy (30) of Shangan Road, Ballymun, Dublin, was found dead in her flat on January 11th, 2010. The pathologist found she had suffered hypothermia.

Ms Peavoy had last spoken to her mother, Celine, the day before she was found dead. She had asked her mother to mind her sons, Leon and Warren, and said she was turning her phone off because she couldn’t sleep.

The next day after numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact her, her brother Leon Peavoy and friend Jacqueline Johnston let themselves into her flat. Ms Johnston found the body of her longtime friend in the main bedroom.

The inquest heard how Dublin City Council had turned off the heating in Ms Peavoy’s flat. The single mother had contacted the council about it but was told the heating would not be turned on as a number of flats around her were empty and because regeneration was ongoing.

Counsel for the family Dr Ciaran Craven told the inquest that former junior minister for housing Noel Ahern had been contacted by Ms Peavoy and her family about the issue. He also made a number of representations on behalf of Ms Peavoy, Dr Craven said. He told the inquest that Ms Peavoy’s flat was “perilously cold” during the bad weather spell last January when Dublin was covered in snow. Calling for an inquiry, he said this was a case where “a young woman with no other system disorder died of hypothermia” and where there was “ample evidence in relation to the heating not working”.

The inquest heard how the garda who examined the scene noted the flat was “freezing”. Ms Peavoy’s doctor had said she attended his surgery on December 15th, 2009, requesting a letter for heating costs, the hearing heard.

Dublin city coroner Dr Brian Farrell adjourned the inquest until February 24th to get further statements about the coldness of Ms Peavoy’s flat.