Boy, 16, collapsed and died due to MDMA toxicity, inquest hears

A 16 year old boy died due to MDMA toxicity after absconding from a state care facility, an inquest has heard.

Killian Dempsey was a resident at Acorn Lodge, Mullingar, Co Westmeath but absconded and died on the evening of May 2 2016.

The young man was diagnosed with ADHD aged five and had entered state care voluntarily with his parent’s consent due to behaviour problems at home and school.

He had become ‘impossible to handle’ at home, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

“It he didn’t get his own way there was ructions,” his mother told the court. Killian was moved from foster care homes, residential homes and schools because of his behaviour.

Described as ‘affable and gregarious’ by social workers, Killian was generous, trusting and ‘took people at face value,’ the court heard. However, he was facing a number of charges for abusive behaviour. He spent six months at Oberstown Detention Campus.

Upon leaving Oberstown in March 2016, Killian was placed at Acorn Lodge in Mullingar as temporary measure while social workers searched for a permanent placement for him.

The arrangement was informal, the court heard. The teen could come and go as he pleased if he kept staff informed. He had a curfew of 10pm.

On May 1 2016 a social worker ate lunch with Killian and they made plans for the afternoon but he left. She followed in her car and searched for him for an hour before reporting him to Gardai as a missing person in care at 6.30pm.

Later that night in Dublin, a friend described seeing Killian take a number of pills in the Temple Bar area.

“I saw him again at Trinity Street around 12.20am, his glasses fell off his face. He was absolutely out of it, he was in a bad way. I picked up his glasses and gave him a smoke,” the friend said.

Around 1am, CCTV footage showed Killian stumbling across the street and collapsing.

Dublin Fire Brigade responded to a call at 1.20am. Killian was lying unconscious on the footpath, surrounded by a concerned crowd.

He had a temperature of 41.8 degrees. He suffered a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. Paramedics battled to save his life but he was pronounced dead in hospital at 2.19 on May 2 2016.

Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy gave the cause of death as MDMA toxicity. The effects of MDMA include the break down of muscle and seizure, both of which are potentially fatal, Dr Cassidy noted.

Gardai called to the Dempsey home to inform them of Killian’s death.

“We were devastated. We couldn’t believe what was being said but sadly it was true,” his mother said. The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

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