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Saturday 30 August 2014

Friends who supplied killer drug cocktail avoid prison

Ralph Riegel

Published 01/03/2014 | 02:30

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Victims Michael Coleman (top) and Liam Coffey
Victims Michael Coleman (top) and Liam Coffey

FOUR young people who unwittingly supplied a lethal drugs mix to two lifelong friends who later died have avoided prison terms.

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Judge Donagh McDonagh said that there was "no more eloquent statement" than the tragic Cork Circuit Criminal Court case, which, he said, showed that drug dealing destroys lives.

The relatives of Liam Coffey (22) and Michael Coleman (22), both of whom died in Kinsale on September 10, 2012 after ingesting the toxic drugs concoction, declined to comment after suspended prison sentences were handed to the four people who had supplied them with the toxic drugs mix.

David McGrath (25) and John O'Dwyer (26), both of Roman Street, Cork; Victoria McCormack (22), of O'Connell Street, Cork; and David Maguire (31), of Harley Woods, Togher, Cork all pleaded guilty to possessing the drugs for sale or supply.

TRAGIC

The judge said all four had to be treated in the same manner and he imposed three-year prison sentences, which he suspended for five years in light of the defendants' early pleas, remorse, co-operation with gardai in removing the drugs batch from Cork streets and previous good behaviour.

But all four must now undergo urine testing at their own expense for five years in co-operation with the Probation and Welfare Service.

They all admitted possessing a mixture of MDMA and PMMA at various locations in Cork city between September 7 and 10, 2012.

Det Garda Jason Wallace said all four were links in a supply chain which saw the lethal powder being consumed by both Mr Coffey and Mr Coleman.

The two friends were from Waterford and were found dead at Mr Coleman's rented house at Abbey Lane in Kinsale on September 10.

Mr Coleman's girlfriend, Ciara Drummey, raised the alarm after the two men became sick after ingesting the toxic drugs mixture. The two friends had been celebrating Mr Coleman's first week in his new job at US pharmaceutical firm, Eli Lilly.

Mr Coffey had travelled to Kinsale for the celebration and stayed in the small terraced house which was rented by Mr Coleman.

There were fears that the deaths were due to a contaminated new version of Ecstasy called 'Mandy' or 'Dr Death' and an unprecedented public health warning was issued.

Judge McDonagh praised the gardai for a successful operation to get the drugs batch off Cork streets within a matter of days.

It later emerged that the young men died from poly-drug ingestion or the combined effects of MDMA and PMMA.

The four defendants insisted to gardai they did not know that the drugs mixture contained PMMA.

McCormack wept as she received the suspended prison sentence.

Irish Independent

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