Man died in garda van after taking alcohol and butane gas
Published 18/08/2016 | 02:30
A talented stonemason who abused both alcohol and butane gas died from "excited delirium" after being placed in a garda vehicle.
A Cork coroner's inquest heard that it required five gardaí to restrain Kevin Meehan (39) after he had gone into a neighbour's back garden during a manic fit in which he had become delusional.
Mr Meehan had been drinking and using butane gas five days before Christmas almost five years ago. One neighbour said she saw a man standing in her garden and feared that he had "a mad look in his eyes".
A witness said that Mr Meehan kept screaming: "They are going to get me… but they won't get me."
She became concerned when Mr Meehan then entered a shed in the garden and started to smash a window.
Mr Meehan's behaviour was described as "crazy" and the authorities were notified.
Gardaí arrived at the scene on December 20, 2011.
Despite trying to reason with Mr Meehan and calm him down, they were only able to restrain him after a struggle. He was placed in handcuffs and carried by the officers to a garda van.
A short time later, the father of two was discovered unconscious and unresponsive in the back of the van.
Despite desperate efforts to stabilise his condition at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH), Mr Meehan of Dunard, Mayfield, was pronounced dead shortly after being admitted.
The cause of death was given as cardiac arrest as a consequence of excited delirium syndrome.
A full Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) investigation was carried out into the matter.
Gardaí were cleared of any wrongdoing over the incident. No further action was taken by GSOC.
The inquest, which was assisted by GSOC, heard that Mr Meehan suffered from bouts of depression.
He was also using both alcohol and butane gas, the latter of which would result in him having manic fits, in which he would often talk to non-existent people.
The inquest was told that Mr Meehan's behaviour could be very erratic when he was inhaling the butane gas.
The inquest continues.