Heating contractor scapegoated over woman’s hotel death, court hears

Miriam Reidy died from carbon monoxide poisoning at Trident Hotel in Kinsale in 2011

A plumbing and heating contractor charged with the manslaughter of a woman in a Co Cork hotel was scapegoated for the woman’s death from carbon monoxide poisoning, a court has been told.

Michael O'Higgins SC, defending, told the jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that Richard Davis had been unfairly singled out by the prosecution over the death of Miriam Reidy and this was not supported by the evidence.

Mr Davis (46), Killanully, Ballygarvan, Co Cork, denies the manslaughter of Ms Reidy (35), Ballyhahill, Co Limerick, 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 has denied the same two charges relating to the conversion of a hotel boiler on January 4th, 2011.


Beginning his summing up, Mr O’Higgins said the prosecution case against Mr Davis had unfairly singled him out as being responsible for Ms Reidy’s death when the roles of others should also have been looked at.

“They would all be before you and you would be apportioning blame. You have something of a scapegoat.”

Failing to convert


Brendan Grehan

SC, prosecuting, said in summing up that if Mr Davis had not been criminally negligent in failing to convert a boiler to LPG, Ms Reidy would not have died and others, including her sister, Patricia Reidy Russell, would not have become ill.

Mr Grehan told the jurors that the prosecution was inviting them to concentrate on the cause of the carbon monoxide release and not the route it took to the bedroom, as none of those other factors would have mattered if Mr Davis and his company had done their work properly.

The case, before Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin, continues tomorrow when Mr O’Higgins will conclude his summing up before the jury of nine men and three women.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times