The son of socialite and former model Jackie Rafter and celebrity hairdresser David Marshall died of acute heroin toxicity, an inquest has heard.
Daniel Marshall, aged 25, of Coppinger Glade, Stillorgan, Dublin, was found dead in the toilets at Fitzwilliam Hotel, opposite St Stephen’s Green in Dublin city centre, on July 12, 2014.
In unexpected scenes at the inquest, Mr Marshall stood up to address coroner Dr Brian Farrell. Mr Marshall was asked by a friend to stay calm and gardaí moved to escort him from the court.
The coroner said the cause of death was mixed drug toxicity involving heroin and prescribed drugs including benzodiazepines and the sleeping pill zimovane.
The inquest heard that Daniel was last seen alive by a bouncer at Dandelion Nightclub next to the Fitzwilliam Hotel. David Boyle saw Daniel walk past the nightclub at 11.30pm.
Daniel’s girlfriend of four years, Kate Bonner, said the couple had met earlier that evening and had a long talk.
“He was in good form. We just chatted for a while and he went off, he said he was going to Donnybrook,” she said.
Asked if she had any concerns for Daniel, Ms Bonner said “not really”.
“We’d had a long talk and arranged to meet the next day. I was aware of his addiction but he’d been doing really well. That’s what makes this all the more tragic. It was the best I’d seen him do, so it was a shock.”
CCTV footage showed Daniel entering the hotel at 12.28am through the main entrance and making his way to the lower floor. He entered the ladies toilets on his own and no one else entered the toilets until he was found four hours later.
At around 4.30am, assistant night manager Miroslav Voisnis checked the toilets. Unable to open the door to the last cubicle, he found an unresponsive male on the floor. A used syringe was found on the floor next to him, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.
“From his [medical] reports, it’s clear Daniel had a difficulty over a long period of time,” Dr Farrell said.
“It looks to me as if he collapsed very soon after taking heroin, which is something we’ve seen so many times before.”
Barrister Peter Lennon, representing Jackie Rafter and her daughter, said he had known Daniel since he was a young man.
“He went to a very good school; he played rugby to a high level. Unfortunately he fell to the scourge that is heroin. His mother spent years trying her very best for Daniel,” said Mr Lennon.
On behalf of Ms Rafter and her daughter, Mr Lennon praised Garda Linda Crennan, whom he said had been a “tower of strength” to them in the wake of Daniel’s untimely death.
Ed Martin, an uncle of Daniel’s who married Jackie’s twin sister, became emotional as he stood to speak. “I’m very upset by this whole thing. I’ve known these two people [Mr Marshall and Ms Rafter] since they were married. We went through rehab with Daniel on a couple of occasions,” he said, speaking from the public gallery.
“A better mother you could not find. She tried everything for Daniel. Despite many ups and more downs, she kept on trying, both public and private. I’ve known. I’ve been married to her sister for 30 years. I saw the whole thing unfold.
“I couldn’t leave court without saying what a great mother she is and Dan was a great young fellow, he just fell at the last ditch,” said Mr Martin.
The coroner returned a verdict of death by misadventure and extended his sympathies to family members.
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