Contractor in manslaughter case admits he did not test boiler for carbon monoxide leaks

Hotel boiler was not properly converted to cater for LPG

A plumbing and heating contractor charged with the manslaughter of a woman who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Co Cork hotel initially told gardai that he had tested the boiler for possible carbon monoxide leaks but later admitted that he had not done so.

Richard Davis (46) from Serenity, Killanully, Ballygarvan, Co Cork denies the manslaughter of Miriam Reidy (35) who died from carbon monoxide poisoning at the Trident Hotel in Kinsale on January 9th, 2011.

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

Yesterday at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, the jury of nine men and three women heard details of a statement that Mr Davis made to gardaí on the day after the tragedy when he met with Det Garda Michael Brosnan at Kinsale Garda Station.


In the statement which was read out by Det Garda Brosnan, Mr Davis outlined his firm’s involvement with the Trident Hotel over a period of 26 years including the installation of three new boilers in the hotel in December 2010.

The previous boilers had run on Liquid Petroleum Gas but the owner of the Trident, David Good, decided to replace the old boilers with new ones which could run on LPG but which could be easily converted to Natural Gas.

Mr Davis told gardaí they supplied three Worcester Bosch boilers which could run on either LPG or Natural Gas but only one of the boilers was set up to run on LPG before Christmas. The chips for two of the new boilers only arrived after Christmas.

Mr Davis told the gardai he brought them to the boiler room at the Trident on January 4th and installed one of the chips in one of the new boilers.

“I put in the chip in one of the new boilers and did an analysis with the Kane analyser [a device for measuring and recording carbon monoxide emissions from boilers]. Everything was ok and I fired up the boiler,” Mr Davis told gardai.

But today during cross-examination of Det Garda Brosnan, defence counsel for Mr Davis, Michael O’Higgins SC said that his client’s assertion in his statement that he used a Kane analyser was “incorrect - it was untrue”.

Mr O’Higgins said that Mr Davis had later clarified matters to satisfaction of the gardai regarding the non-use of a Kane analyser on January 4th, 2011 to check for carbon monoxide emissions from the boiler.

Opening the case last week, prosecution counsel Brendan Grehan SC said the state wasn’t alleging that Mr Davis deliberately set out to kill or injure Ms Reidy but that he was guilty of her manslaughter through criminal negligence. The case continues.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times