Sister of Cork student who died after drugs party criticises sentences for trio

Sister of Cork student who died after drugs party criticises sentences for trio

"What kind of message are we sending out? We are essentially telling people that no matter what you do - selling drugs - you are going to get a suspended sentence."

That was the reaction from Nicole Ryan yesterday to the sentencing on drugs supply charges following the death of her teenage brother Alex after he took the synthetic drug known as N-bomb at a party in Cork in January.

Read: Judge condemns 'insidious normalisation of illicit drugs' after death of Cork student

Judge Gerard O’Brien imposed a two-year sentence with 18 months suspended on Harry Clifton, and imposed wholly suspended two-year sentences on Ruairí Maher and Jessica O’Connor for their parts in the supply of the synthetic drug N-bomb.

Nicole Ryan said outside the courthouse afterwards, "We are basically telling people you are not going to be punished for what you do."

Ms Ryan also said her family was very upset at the behaviour of the three defendants around the courthouse over the past week.

She challenged any suggestion they had shown genuine remorse.

"They had 10 months to contact us and say sorry or say something to us. But not one ounce of remorse has been shown."

"It is heart-breaking. It is such a terrible week for us. But they (the defendants) were actually laughing at us. They were basically laughing at his death."

"In my opinion, they have absolutely no regard for human life at all."

Ms Ryan said her family were shocked that many of the people who attended the tragic party last January - an event described by Judge O'Brien as "an orgy of drink and drugs" - attended court to show their support to the three defendants, while not one of them had attended Cork University Hospital last January as her brother had fought in vain for his life.

Nicole said she will never forget the sight of her brother fighting in vain for his life in the intensive care unit.

"He was lying in the hospital bed. There were tubes everywhere, in his arms and from his mouth. It was awful to see. We hoped and prayed that he would pull through but there was too much damage."

Nicole said her family will be forever haunted by the sight of her brother slowly losing his battle for survival in front of their eyes.

“A lot of our hopes and dreams died with Alex. There is not a day that we don't think about him and what a terrible loss we have suffered," she said.

They later donated the teen's organs with four people effectively being saved.

Nicole said her family now wants to help support the anti-drugs campaign in Ireland.

"Alex was a wonderful person. He had a beautiful smile and he was as kind-hearted a soul as you could ever meet. But he made one very bad decision.

"That mistake took his life and changed our lives forever.

"Alex paid for his mistake with his life.

"We don't want any other Irish family to suffer our loss."

"People do have disregard for drugs. But the people who sell these things have to be held accountable.

"They were all young, they were all stupid but to say they were remorseful was not true. They didn't show one ounce of remorse towards Alex."

"None of them showed any remorse towards us. They sat there laughing in court and now they are laughing at us."

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