Open verdict returned at inquest into death of solicitor who drowned at Dún Laoghaire marina

David Montgomery, managing partner of Dublin law firm, was under investigation by the Law Society at time of death over €1.7 million deficit in client account

The body of a solicitor who was under investigation by the Law Society at the time of his death was discovered in the water near his boat moored in Dún Laoghaire, an inquest has heard.

David Montgomery (54), managing partner in his family’s legal practice, Thomas Montgomery & Son Solicitors, in Dún Laoghaire, died as a result of drowning on October 10th, 2022.

Dublin District Coroner’s Court heard that Mr Montgomery, a married father of two, was reported missing after relatives became concerned about him not responding to phone calls earlier that afternoon.

His wife, Ciara McGoldrick, told the inquest that she and her husband had breakfast as usual that morning and he told her he was going into the Four Courts to attend a trial. He sent her a text at about 1pm saying he was still in court and a later text to say he had left town as the case had been settled.


Ms McGoldrick said she and her brother-in-law, Iain Montgomery, became worried when David failed to respond to calls and texts and reported him missing to gardaí in Dún Laoghaire that evening.

She said they went to the marina in Dún Laoghaire, where they owned a boat, and noticed his car was parked there. The inquest heard that there were some tools on the deck of the boat and Ms McGoldrick recalled her husband had talked about getting the vessel ready for winter.

While they were at the marina, she said her husband’s body appeared in the water beside his boat.

Asked by the coroner Clare Keane if she had any concerns about her husband, Ms McGoldrick said he had “an issue” with the Law Society which they had never discussed. However, she said he would have been stressed “by what was going on with the Law Society”.

She added that she had learned about the matter only on the day of his death from her brother-in-law.

Ms McGoldrick said her husband had also spoken about the case he had attended in the Four Courts earlier that day “going badly”. She told Dr Keane that it was “out of character” for her husband not to respond to phone calls and to not be home by 6.30pm.

The inquest heard that Mr Montgomery was not in the habit of wearing a life jacket when on the boat while it was in the marina.

Paramedic Andrew O’Toole said emergency services tried for 40 minutes to resuscitate the victim without success.

Garda Daniel Nugent gave evidence that there was no sign of anything out of place or any struggle on board the boat. He stated that weather conditions at the time were “calm, still and dry”.

The inquest heard that gardaí were uncertain how Mr Montgomery had entered the water but were satisfied it was a “tragic accident”. Postmortem results confirmed he had died as a result of drowning while also revealing he had moderate cardiac disease and an abrasion above an ear.

Joanelle O’Cleirigh, solicitor for Ms McGoldrick, asked the coroner to consider returning a verdict of accidental death as Mr Montgomery had been intending to fix his boat. Dr Keane said she did not have enough evidence to conclude that his death was accidental, intentional or due to misadventure.

Returning an open verdict, the coroner said it would have to be “a completely out-of-the-blue event” to make a finding of accidental death. While she was not making any judgment, Dr Keane noted that the deceased had been “acting out of character” on the day of his death.

The High Court last year heard that an estimated deficit of more than €1.7 million was uncovered during an investigation by the Law Society into the law firm run by Mr Montgomery and his father, William Montgomery. The deceased, who was a practising solicitor since 1995, was managing partner at the firm from 2005 until the time of his death.

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