Party-goers died from lethal mix of drugs

Two men who attended a Christmas Eve party died within hours of each other from a lethal combination of methadone and tablets.

Dr Margot Bolster, the assistant state pathologist, told Cork City Coroner’s Court yesterday that her post mortem examinations on the bodies of John Foley, aged 33, originally from Ardbhaile, Mayfield, Cork, and John O’Donoghue, aged 32, originally from 4, Larchfield, Youghal, Co Cork, found no evidence of heroin.

Both men, who were renting separate bedsits at 5, Rockgrove Tce, on Cork’s Lower Glanmire Rd, died within hours of each other last Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day.

The joint inquest into their deaths heard a party was held on Christmas Eve in flat 19 — a one-bedroom bedsit shared by Mr O’Donoghue and his girlfriend Kathleen O’Sullivan.

The inquest heard alcohol, cannabis, methadone, prescription drugs and speed were available at the party.

Det Garda Kevin O’Donnell told Dr Myra Cullinane, the city coroner, that several people came and went over the course of several hours.

Gardaí traced them all and took statements, but only one attended the inquest to give direct evidence.

David Butt said he had one beer and left after about half an hour. “I went away. I didn’t like the atmosphere there. It wasn’t my scene. It was a gammy gaff,” he said.

The inquest was told that Mr Foley, who had moved in to the downstairs flat 21 with his girlfriend, Paula Canty, the day before, called in to the party in flat 19.

He spent up to an hour there before returning to his own flat. In her deposition, Ms Canty said Mr Foley later told her he had consumed two bottles of methadone.

The couple went to bed. Mr Foley woke at 2am and vomited, but Ms Canty said he seemed OK afterwards. She woke around midday on Christmas Day and found Mr Foley unresponsive in bed next to her.

Her screams alerted Mr O’Donoghue and Ms O’Sullivan who ran down to the flat and performed CPR on Mr Foley. Emergency services rushed to the flat but Mr Foley was pronounced dead at the scene at 2.26pm.

Garda Juliet Lynch, who attended, said that she remembered seeing Mr O’Donoghue in the vicinity. He would be dead in similar circumstances within hours.

The inquest heard that Mr O’Donoghue and Ms O’Sullivan went to bed in their own flat later on Christmas Day.

In her deposition, Ms O’Sullivan said she woke around 8pm and found him unresponsive in the bed, frothing at the mouth, and with blood around his nose. Paramedics rushed him to the Mercy University Hospital where he was revived. But he had suffered massive brain damage and died in the early hours of Dec 26.

Sgt Michael Kelleher, who had attended the scene that night, said there was no evidence of hard drugs in the flat at the time.

Det Gda O’Donnell said Ms O’Sullivan was questioned under caution in relation to the consumption of illegal drugs in her flat.

A file was sent to the DPP which recommended that no prosecution take place.

Dr Bolster said both men died from a combination of methadone and high levels of benzodiazapenes, which had suppressed their central nervous systems.

Dr Cullinane recorded a verdict of misadventure in both cases. She extended her sympathies to Mr O’Donoghue’s mother, who attended the inquest.

The inquest was told Mr Foley’s family were made aware of the proceedings, but chose not to attend.

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