‘Misadventure’ in drink-binge death

A verdict of death by misadventure has been returned in an inquest into the death of Graham Parish, who died of acute alcohol intoxication in 2008.

Englishman Mr Parish’s death after a night out with friends attracted international attention when two staff at Hayes Hotel, Gary Wright and Aidan Dalton, were charged with manslaughter under a liquor liability law. Both were acquitted of any wrongdoing.

Mr Parish’s parents, David and Julie, travelled from Lancashire to Thurles for the inquest.

Coroner Joseph Kelly said a verdict of death by misadventure was the only appropriate verdict. The events of Jun 30, 2008, heighten the concern around alcohol intoxication, said Mr Kelly.

“One death from alcohol intoxication is one death too many,” he said.

“There are all too many of these kinds of cases. But we should never acquiesce to this as the norm. This country must build on its future. Young people should be aware of the damage around them.”

Mr Parish had just moved to Ireland, and was celebrating his 26th birthday with friends.

Barman Aidan Dalton told the inquest Mr Parish started drinking at around 6.30pm.

He was joined by five friends. They were drinking at a “steady pace”.

Mr Dalton said Mr Parish’s friends were betting each other how much they could drink. Mr Parish’s friends bought him shots of vodka, and put these into his pints. At one stage, Mr Parish drank a pint glass containing 10 different shots. Mr Dalton said he later met a man carrying Mr Parish up to a function room.

“I just said: ‘Make sure he is alright.’ He said: ‘OK’.”

At around 11.45pm, Mr Dalton noticed Mr Parish “still snoring away”. He seemed in “good form”, said Mr Dalton.

Bar manager Gary Wright said the group wanted to put 10 shots into Mr Parish’s pint glass.

“I did not see Aidan serve the pint. I did see him [Mr Parish] down it in one go. He did not drink again later after that. He lost his balance.

He was conscious, and “laughing with the lads”.

As they were finishing up at around 12am, Mr Wright told the night porter, Philip Mahoney, to keep an eye on Mr Parish.

Garda Margaret Leahy said the night porter rang her that night. She and two colleagues sealed off the area, while the doctor and ambulance arrived. Parish was pronounced dead at 7.25am.

An autopsy report from pathologist Stephen Finn, showed Mr Parish died from alcohol intoxication.

Mr Kelly recommended the jury to return a verdict of death by misadventure. The drinking of alcohol “is a deliberate and lawful human act” which unexpectedly led to Mr Parish’s death, he said.


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