UPDATE: The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it is providing consular assistance to his family, but could not confirm the circumstances of the death. Padraig Gaffney, originally from Lanesborough in Co. Longford, was found dead on Wednesday.
Following a $10,000 fine from the Melbourne court he was quoted saying "This entire thing has ruined my life completely."
What started as a romantic getaway ended with thousands in fines for County Longford man Padraig Gaffney.
Gaffney, 29, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to causing AUS $500,000 ($467,000) in flood damage at the Fraser Place Hotel in Melbourne, Australia last year.
He said that he “doesn’t remember a goddam thing” about the incident.
Gaffney and his girlfriend had traveled from Queensland to Melbourne for the weekend to celebrate his birthday. Gaffney had also been planning to propose.
On the night of April 21, they returned to the hotel after an evening out. As the Melbourne court heard from prosecutor Kristie Churchill, Gaffney woke up shortly after midnight.
Apparently blacked out and wearing only his underwear, Gaffney urinated in the hallway before wandering down the emergency exit staircase to the hotel’s eighth floor, where he turned on a fire hydrant valve.
The gushing water flooded the eighth floor and all floors below it. Gaffney then went up to the 10th floor and banged on a number of doors, waking some guests, before returning to his room.
Guests were evacuated and later transferred to other hotels for the night, and the firemen called to the scene were able to shut off the valve.
When police knocked on the door of Gaffney's room, he said he had no memory of activating the fire hydrant. He reportedly told the police that he was “Sorry, so sorry.”
A carpenter and construction worker by trade, Gaffney has lived in Australia for 10 years.
Gaffney’s defense attorney, Sam Norton, said that his client was very ashamed and embarrassed, and that he believes he has both blackened his own reputation and tarnished his family’s name. He also noted that Gaffney and his girlfriend had since parted ways.
After making his guilty plea, Gaffney was fined AUS $10,000 ($9,340). Judge Michael Rozenes, who presided over the case, noted that, while Gaffney acted stupidly, he could not detect any malicious intent behind his actions.
Asked why he had flooded the hotel, Gaffney answered "Why would anyone have a reason for that? I’d just like to say I’m very, very sorry. I can’t remember a goddamn thing."
"This entire thing has ruined my life completely," he told the Melbourne newspaper Age.
"I’ve spent 10 years in Australia trying to better myself and in the space of one night everything can be taken away from you.
"People who go out for the night and drink too much can ruin themselves completely."
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