Woman recalls death of sister in Kinsale hotel gas leak

Contractor on trial over 2011 death of Miriam Reidy from carbon monoxide poisoning

A woman who escaped death following a carbon monoxide leak in a Co Cork hotel room today recalled waking up in intensive care at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and instinctively knowing that she had lost her sister in the incident.

Miriam Reidy (35), a native of Ballyhahill, Co Limerick, died from carbon monoxide poisoning on January 9th, 20011 after she was rushed to hospital from the Trident Hotel in Kinsale.

Her sister, Patricia, was also taken to hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning but she was caught in time to survive.

Speaking on the second day of a trial being taken against a heating and plumbing contractor who is charged with failing to properly convert a gas boiler in the hotel, Patricia Reidy recalled the harrowing moment when she realised her sister Miriam was dead.


Patricia Reidy recalled how she and Miriam had fallen ill once they returned to the hotel from a hen party on January 8th, 2011.

In evidence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court she said that after a while they both became sick and she felt something was "not right." She noticed that Miriam had been sick and she began to wonder if their drinks had been spiked or if it was food poisoning.

“The environment was beyond my control. I called the hotel receptionist to ring a doctor. My limbs did not have the strength in them. Miriam was further along than I was. She was a lot sicker than I was. The doctor arrived at 5am and asked our symptoms. I said Miriam had fallen and was weak and had vomited.”

The sisters received injections for nausea and the doctor left the room. Patricia recalled feeling exceptionally cold. She got out of bed and put a fleece on. She couldn’t lift her head off the pillow. Putting on the fleece was her last memory before she woke up in intensive care at CUH.

Her cousin Marie Reidy, who stayed in a different hotel following the hen night, told the court she tried to call Miriam and Patricia the morning after the party but was unable to get them.

She walked over to the hotel and went to room 112 where two other hen night attendees were staying. She found the women to be unwell and opened the hotel window for air.

Marie Reidy said he then tried to ring Patricia Reidy’s phone but got no reply. “I banged on the hotel door and I heard Patricia moaning. I knew something was not right.”

She immediately went to reception and explained that her friends in room 113 were sick. At 1.50pm, she entered the room.

The bathroom light was on there was vomit on the floor, she said, adding that Miriam was “lifeless” on the bed. Ms Reidy recalled that Miriam looked dazed whilst Patricia was in a foetal position and she was shaking.

“I felt Miriam’s face and it was cold. I checked pulse and couldn’t get any. I turned Patricia on her side so I could perform CPR on her sister.”

An ambulance was called to the hotel and Ms Reidy said the doctor called on her to help put an oxygen mask on Patricia.

Marie Reidy said she was subsequently checked out by medical staff at the hotel after word emerged of a possible carbon monoxide leak.

The case is being taken against heating and plumbing contractor, Richard Davis, of Serenity, Killanully, Ballygarvan, Co Cork. He denies the manslaughter of Miriam Reidy at the Trident Hotel.

He also denies two charges as a director of Davis Heating and Plumbing Contractors relating breaches of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 while the company has denied the same two charges relating to the conversion of a hotel boiler on January 4th, 2011.

The case continues.