Cocaine played key role in death of two men, coroner’s court told

COCAINE was instrumental in the deaths of two men in two separate incidents, the coroner’s court in Dublin heard yesterday.

A 22-year-old man who took “a small amount” of cocaine while on a night out before Christmas, died from cocaine induced cardiac failure. Another 48-year-old man with a cocaine addiction problem was found dead in bed by his son in February.

The coroner’s court heard that Sean Walsh, aged 22, of 31 Fortfield Road, Terenure was pronounced dead at Tallaght hospital at 2pm on December 22, 2006.

Mr Walsh met his friend, Lee Cullen for a night out at the Old Mill pub in Tallaght at 10pm on December 21.

At about 11pm, after Mr Walsh had consumed between four and six pints, the two went outside and took cocaine belonging to Mr Walsh, the inquest heard.

Mr Cullen told the court he took “a small bit of” the drug and Mr Walsh, who took cocaine “the odd time”, took the rest of the cocaine, described as being a small amount, smaller that what he would usually take.

A subsequent toxicology screening revealed Mr Walsh had 0.03mg per millilitre of cocaine in his blood at the time of his death and he died from cardiac failure due to cocaine cardiomyopathy.

Traces of methadone and diazepam were also found, which contributed to his death.

Coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

The court heard that after the pub, Mr Cullen and Mr Walsh returned to the home of Mr Cullen’s parents at 81 Allenton Avenue, Tallaght, to have a few more drinks.

Between 2am and 3am, Mr Cullen took a taxi home to Crumlin, where he lives with his granddad. Mr Walsh remained at the house, talking to Mr Cullen’s mother, Nuala Cullen.

Ms Cullen told the court that she repeatedly tried to get Mr Walsh to go to bed between 4.30am and 6.30am, but he would not go and kept waking up her husband Peter and her other son Ross.

He accompanied Ms Cullen to the local shop between 8.30am and 9.30pm and upon his return he fell asleep at the kitchen table and slid to the floor.

Ms Cullen and her husband contacted the emergency services and tried in vain to resuscitate Mr Walsh.

“Each time I pressed on his chest a funny noise came out of his tummy and then a brown red liquid came out of his mouth and nose,” she told the court.

At a separate inquest, Dublin County Coroner’s Court heard that Frank Byrne, aged 48, of “Kate,” Tower Street, Rush, Co Dublin, also died after taking cocaine.

Mr Byrne’s son Paul discovered his father dead in bed on the evening of February 26 this year.

A subsequent post mortem confirmed Mr Byrne, died from cardiac arythmia secondary to severe coronary artery disease and cocaine use.

Mr Byrne’s wife, Mary Byrne told the inquest her husband had a cocaine addiction problem.

The coroner returned a verdict of misadventure.

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