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Thursday 18 September 2014

Flat 'had no heat when couple died'

Gareth Naughton

Published 15/03/2014 | 02:30

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blue town gas
No heat in flat

The apartment where a couple were found dead had neither gas nor electricity supplies.

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The gas heating had been switched off at the occupier's request, while a power switch that had tripped had automatically cut off the power supply, the inquest into their deaths heard.

Dublin City Council had provided John Glennon (66) with electric heaters but when gardai entered the apartment at Drumalee Court, North Circular Road, Dublin 7, they found the power was shut off.

Mr Glennon was found dead alongside his partner Deborah McEvoy (63) on Monday, January 14 last year. They had been dead for at least 24 hours.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard that Ms McEvoy was last seen by a neighbour on the Saturday morning prior. Sergeant John Dunne said that gardai believe Mr Glennon was also alive at that time.

The alarm was raised by city council liaison officer Rita Cannon, who regularly checked on Mr Glennon. He had been living in the council-owned apartment complex since 2004.

The court heard that Ms McEvoy had moved in the previous September.

EXPOSED

When gardai entered the apartment they found the couple lying head-to-toe beside each other. Both were fully clothed, however, Ms McEvoy's abdomen was exposed leaving her more vulnerable to the cold. Mr Glennon was partially covered by a duvet hanging off the edge of a single bed.

An electric oil heater was lying flat on the ground next to the couple. When gardai flipped the trip switch to restore power, a lamp in the room lit up.

Ms Cannon told the court that the gas heating in the apartment had been disconnected.

"I provided him with two small electric heaters on two separate occasions as the weather was so severe," she said.

Then-deputy state pathologist Dr Khalid Jaber gave hypothermia as the cause of death for Ms McEvoy. In Mr Glennon's case, Dr Jaber found evidence of a heart attack with an element of hypothermia and on a background of poor nutritional status. Neither had alcohol or medication in their system at the time of death and no food was found in their stomachs.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell returned a verdict of death by misadventure for Ms McEvoy.

He returned a narrative verdict outlining the facts in Mr Glennon's case, saying that he may have had a heart attack with hypothermia a secondary condition.

Irish Independent

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