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Man died 'after cocktail of shots'

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Barmen Gary Wright, left, and Aidan Dalton deny manslaughter

Barmen Gary Wright, left, and Aidan Dalton deny manslaughter

Barmen Gary Wright, left, and Aidan Dalton deny manslaughter

A civil engineer who died from acute alcohol poisoning after downing a cocktail of shots had challenged friends to drinks races on nights before, a court has been told.

Hotel staff are accused of serving Graham Parish the mix of spirits in one glass, which rapidly pushed his blood alcohol level up.

Nenagh Circuit Court was told tests showed the amount of alcohol in the British man's blood was above the average taken from a study of 175 similar deaths.

Bar manager Gary Wright, 34, and barman Aidan Dalton, 28, have pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Parish in the Hayes Hotel in Thurles, Co Tipperary, on June 30 2008. They are both from Kilfithmone, Borrisoleigh in Co Tipperary.

His colleague, Simon Turner, said Mr Parish started racing pints before he had "a cocktail of mixed spirits" which he alleged was handed over by bar staff.

"It was his suggestion to challenge people to race to drink a half pint of spirits to a half pint of lager," Mr Turner told a jury and Judge Thomas Teehan. The court heard vodka, gin, baileys, brandy and possibly a Jagermeister were in the glass, with a till receipt showing eight shots of spirits costing 30 euro were bought at 10.40pm.

Within minutes, Mr Parish had slumped off his bar stool and was carried to a conference room on the first floor of the hotel by four friends - where his body was found by a night porter shortly after 6am the following morning.

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Mr Turner told detectives Mr Parish had previously challenged people to a drinks race."I have been out with him several times over the course of the seven years I knew him," said the steel erector, who worked alongside Mr Parish at Skipton-based Reliant Installations Ltd.

"He always wanted to show people how quick he could drink pints of Guinness. I have seen it a few times but I think it was done in his student days."

Mr Parish, a father-of-two, was from Calder Terrace in Lomeshaye village near Nelson, east Lancashire. His parents David and Julie and sister Jess have travelled to Ireland for the trial - the first of its kind under liquor liability laws - at Nenagh Circuit Court.


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