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Reveller died in cell after arrest at O2


Hugh Brien was celebrating at the O2 arena. Photo:Kyran O'Brien

Hugh Brien was celebrating at the O2 arena. Photo:Kyran O'Brien

Hugh Brien was celebrating at the O2 arena. Photo:Kyran O'Brien

A MAN who was celebrating his birthday at a concert at the O2 died in garda custody after being arrested for being drunk.

Hugh Brien (52), from Orchardstown Drive in Rathfarnham, Dublin 14, died in the early hours of May 25, 2011, an inquest heard yesterday.

He had been arrested and taken into custody at the O2, where he had been due to attend a Roger Waters gig earlier in the evening.

Dublin Coroner's Court previously heard Mr Brien was very drunk on his arrival at the O2, had to be helped out of a taxi and could not tell gardai his name.

He was seen by a paramedic on duty at the venue, who advised that there was no need for medical assistance and that Mr Brien just needed to go home and "sleep it off".

Garda Amy Cunningham said she told Mr Brien that he was not in trouble, but was being arrested for "his own safety".

He was taken to Store Street Garda Station just before 9pm and put in a cell, where he could be heard snoring in his sleep.

However, when checked at 1.40am, Mr Brien was unresponsive and pulseless. Attempts at resuscitation failed and he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the Mater Hospital.

State pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy carried out the postmortem and found high levels of alcohol and methadone, as well as a high therapeutic level of diazepam in his system.



Death was due to respiratory failure as a result of the combined effect of the alcohol and drugs.

Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell noted that there was a 50-minute gap between the time when Mr Brien was last observed and when he was found unresponsive in his cell.

He told the jury that garda regulations currently indicate that intoxicated persons in custody should be observed and, if necessary, roused every 15 minutes in the first two hours of custody or longer depending on their condition.

The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure and recommended defibrillators in all garda stations, refresher courses in first aid and a minimum number of staff on duty at all times.