Belfast Telegraph

Barmen on trial after drink-fuelled death of customer

By Barry Duggan

It was the night of his 26th birthday and Graham Parish was celebrating with an overnight stay at the historic Hayes Hotel.

The Englishman was in Thurles, Co Tipperary, after flying into the Republic from England for work.

However, the celebrations turned into tragedy as the father-of-two drank himself to death, which in turn led to two bar staff being charged with his unlawful killing.

Hayes Hotel bar manager Gary Wright (34) and his colleague Aidan Dalton (28) yesterday pleaded not guilty at Nenagh Circuit Criminal Court to the manslaughter of Mr Parish at the hotel on July 1, 2008.

Mr Parish — from Lancashire — had flown into the country on June 30 to carry out work at a meat processing plant, Dew Valley, in Thurles. He worked for Reliant Installation and was overseeing a project at the Tipperary plant.

Mr Parish arrived there at 1.30pm and began work before leaving the site at 5.30pm and making his way to Hayes Hotel in Liberty Square where he was a guest for the night. At 6.30pm, Mr Parish entered the bar in the hotel and began drinking pints of |Guinness.

He was joined by five other English workers over the course of the evening. Electrician Craig Bateson from west Yorkshire said he had eight or nine pints of Guinness and that Mr Parish had more than him.

Around 10pm that night a vodka was put into Mr Parish's drink and he downed it in one go.

Subsequently, unknown to him, another two vodkas were put into another pint which he drank.

Judge Tom Teehan heard yesterday Mr Parish challenged the other drinkers and said he could down 10 spirits in a pint glass before they could finish their pints.

Barman Aidan Dalton asked his manager Gary Wright was it OK to serve the alcohol, and was given permission. The spirits were put into a pint glass.

The victim drank it all in one go and shortly afterwards slumped on his bar stool and fell onto the floor. He was carried from the bar by four of the drinkers to the ‘Commercial Room' on the first floor where they laid him on his side and wedged him between a table and chair.

The group then went to get food from a nearby takeaway.

Night porter Philip Mahoney said he came on duty at midnight and was informed by Gary Wright that Mr Parish was upstairs.

Mr Mahoney said he checked on Mr Parish at 2am and 2.30am.

Just before 6am the porter said he got a strong smell, as if Mr Parish had soiled himself.

He said Mr Parish was not answering him and he shook his shoulders. Mr Mahoney checked for a pulse, saw vomit, and then called the gardai.

A doctor also arrived at the scene and the victim was pronounced dead at 7.15am. He died from acute alcoholic poisoning.

The trial continues.

Belfast Telegraph


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