Stephen O'Malley suffered a heart attack because kit around his neck was too tight
A Mersey diver’s death at an off-shore wind farm is to be re-investigated after authorities wrongly ruled that he died from an undiagnosed heart condition.
Stephen O’Malley was throttled when his neck dam ring, connected to his helmet, tightened as he worked in the North Sea, off the German shore, more than three years ago.
Last September, at the 48-year-old’s inquest, Liverpool coroner Andre Rebello described the initial investigation in Denmark and its verdict as “bizarre and fanciful”.
He recorded a new ruling into Mr O’Malley’s death as hypoxic-induced cardiac arrest - because of an over-tight neck equipment ring.
Now, after lobbying in parliament by Riverside MP Louise Ellman, the State Attorney in Denmark has agreed to re-examine the May 2012 tragedy.
The Liverpool politician said: “I am very pleased that Stephen O’Malley’s case is being reviewed following my debate in Parliament.
“The previous decisions leave too many unanswered questions into the tragic circumstances of Stephen’s death.”
Disturbing CCTV footage was played during September’s inquest which showed the distressed diver shouting: “The neck dam is restricting my breathing.”
Soon after, he said: “I can’t breathe with the neck dam. It’s choking me.”
A colleague is heard to reply: “Just take your time Stephen, orientate yourself and get your breath back.”
The diver was eventually pulled back onto the ship, but it crucially took eight minutes and 35 seconds to summon a supervisor to rescue him.
Mr O’Malley, who lived in Liverpool city centre but was from Bebington, was only two metres below the water’s surface, but after colleagues struggled to locate the clip on his helmet, vital time had been lost.
Nicola Braniff, Mr O’Malley’s girlfriend, today told the ECHO: “The Danish authorities should know what we’re not going away.
“This is about Stephen, and what happened to him.
“It’s horrible to think he went in that way.
“The Danish cause of death was a shock. It was like they were reading a different case to what the British had.”
The 42-year-old added: “He had no heart condition - he was the most healthy person you could meet.
“He went to the gym constantly, and had to pass a medical each year to dive.
“It was a strenuous job, life and death.
“We just want the Danish authorities to open the case and get justice for Stephen.”
Mr O’Malley was pronounced dead by a doctor who was flown out to the vessel after an hour of resuscitation attempts.
A report, issued by Mr Rebello at the inquest, was sent to Mr O’Malley’s employer SubC Partner, based in Denmark, and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch of the Department for Transport.