The tormented final hours of a homeless man unfolded yesterday.
Christopher Kelly, 50, who originally lived at St Mary’s Park, Limerick, was pronounced dead on March 30.
After taking huge amounts of drink and drugs, his final meal consisted of sticks of domestic fire lighters.
While sleeping rough the night before, Mr Kelly consumed large amounts of canned beer having failed to secure a bed in a city centre homeless centre.
His gruesome, final, day was recalled at an inquest before Limerick coroner, John McNamara. A friend told the hearing how he met Mr Kelly around 2pm off St John’s Square at the homeless centre. While the friend got a bed, Mr Kelly didn’t.
They later met up and went to a laneway where they drank cans of beer. Volunteers running a soup kitchen arrived about 7pm. Mr Kelly got the price of a few more cans and went off drinking. Later, the pair met a woman they knew who brought them to her house in Kennedy Park.
There, they sat around drinking beer, but due to shaking bouts, Mr Kelly took Xanex tablets, known on the street as Upjohn 90s.
The woman gave him her vodka which he drank from the bottle. He took 11 Xanex tablets overall along with methadone.
The friend who brought him to the house went to bed upstairs and came down a few times to check on him. He found Mr Kelly at one stage during the night eating firelighters because he was so hungry. The friend took the firelighters off him and gave him some pretzels.
After Mr Kelly became sick, he was turned on his side. In the morning, the friend discovered Mr Kelly was not breathing and called an ambulance.
He had died on a kitchen floor, alone.
Pathologist Dr Vourneen Healy said she found Xanex tablets in one of Mr Kelly’s socks. Blood samples contained toxic levels of an anti-depressant along a large amount of methadone and alcohol, with a toxic level of 185. Death, she said, was due to the affects of drugs and alcohol. Mr Kelly, she said, had been unconscious when he died.
Recording a verdict of misadventure, the coroner said Mr Kelly did not intend to die and described it as “an unexpected tragedy”.
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