TWO friends whose bodies were found in a council flat in Dublin's north inner city died from the cold.
Post-mortem examinations on the bodies of John Glennon (67) and Debbie McEvoy (63) established yesterday that the cause of death was hypothermia.
Deputy State Pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar said that in Mr Glennon's case, a serious heart problem had been a contributory factor; while Ms McEvoy had suffered from high blood pressure.
The two friends were found lying together on the floor of Mr Glennon's flat in a sheltered housing unit at the Drumalee Court complex in Stoneybatter.
The grim discovery was made by gardai shortly before lunchtime on Monday after officers were alerted by health board officials, who became concerned when they were unable to make contact with the two.
It's believed that they died from the cold over the weekend.
There was no heat on in the house when the bodies were found.
The post-mortems also confirmed that the two had not eaten for some time.
Initially, it was thought that they had been victims of carbon monoxide poisoning but an investigation by Bord Gais quickly ruled out the possibility of a gas leak and further inquiries indicated that the gas had not been connected to the flat for some time.
A forensic examination of the scene was also carried out by gardai from the technical bureau but found nothing unusual.
Mr Glennon, who is originally from Co Offaly, had lived in the local authority complex for around seven years.
His friend, Ms McEvoy, who is from Newry, Co Down, had an address in Cabra but was a regular visitor to Mr Glennon's home.
Locals said that the heating in the flats was powered by gas but that Mr Glennon was disconnected from the network around six years ago.
Neighbour Irene Daly said that the pensioner had chosen to be disconnected from the network at the time but that she did not know why.
"I don't really know why he did it, any guess is as good as mine," Ms Daly, who was a close friend of Ms McEvoy, said.
In a statement Bord Gais confirmed that the flat was disconnected at the request of Mr Glennon, not his supplier.
"Gas supply to the property ceased in 2007 at the request of the customer and has not resumed since then," it said.
It is understood that he used an electric heater following the decision to disconnect.
A spokesman for Bord Gais confirmed that Mr Glennon was disconnected but could not confirm the circumstances last night.
Rose Reel, Ms McEvoy's sister, told the Irish Independent that the family was trying to get to grips with what had happened.
"We're all in shock. We can't get our heads around it," she said. She did not wish to comment further.
Mr Glennon's sister Mary Traynor said that she had contacted her brother's former wife, who is ill, and his grown children to inform them of the tragedy.