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Safety test never done on lethal gas boiler

A PLUMBER told gardai he conducted a computerised carbon monoxide safety test after converting a boiler, but later admitted no such test took place.

The revelation came as a manslaughter trial heard Richard Davis (46) holds no formal qualifications with the Registered Gas Installers of Ireland (RGII) and had his provisional registration of the body terminated in January 2010.

Davis denies the manslaughter of Miriam Reidy (35) in the Trident Hotel, Kinsale on January 9 2011.

The State claimed he had shown gross negligence in the conversion of a new boiler from natural gas to liquid petroleum gas in the hotel on January 4.

Davis of Killanully, Ballygarvan, Co Cork, denies all the charges against him at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. The trial has heard that Ms Reidy died from acute carbon monoxide poisoning as she attended her cousin’s hen party.

Her sister, Patricia, was also found unconscious in the room but was saved by her cousin and paramedics.

Judge Sean O’Donnabhain heard that Davis informed gardai on January 10 2011, just 24 hours after Ms Reidy’s death, that he conducted the carbon monoxide safety test on the converted boiler in the hotel.

However, defence counsel Michael O’Higgins SC yesterday clarified to the trial that such a safety test did not, in fact, ever take place on January 4 or 5.

The trial heard UK heating expert, Richard Siddens, was brought in to examine the boiler after Ms Reidy’s death. He found that the boiler was still at its original factory settings.

“It has not been correctly converted to use Liquid Petroleum Gas (from natural gas),” Det Inspector Joe Moore said.

The trial heard that Davis held no formal qualification from the industry body, RGII.

He had provisional registration from July to December 2009 – but was removed from the register in January 2010 after failing to meet criteria.

Davis, in statements to gardai, said he had 26 to 27 years plumbing experience.

As a director of Davis Heating and Plumbing Contractors Ltd, the defendant also faces two charges brought under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005).

These allege he failed to properly convert a Worcester Bosch Greenstar boiler at the Trident Hotel for LPG use.

Davis Heating and Plumbing Contractors Ltd of Unit 9, Portside, Marina Commercial Park, Centre Park Road, Cork, also faces two similar charges.

The case, before Judge Sean O’Donnabhain and a jury, will involve up to 100 witnesses.

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