Saturday 10 December 2016

Party goers used Tinder to source deadly N Bomb drug which later killed teenager

Published 23/11/2016 | 18:00

Alex Ryan, who died aged 18
Alex Ryan, who died aged 18

Revellers at a four day party used dating app Tinder to source a lethal psychedelic drug nicknamed N Bomb which later cost a Cork teen his life, a court has heard.

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Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard harrowing evidence on charges brought against three young people following a Garda investigation into the death of student Alex Ryan (18) following a party last January.

Harry Clifton (29), Jessica O'Connor (20) and Ruairí Maher (22) all pleaded guilty to a variety of drugs offences following a Garda investigation into the tragic death of Mr Ryan from the lethal psychedelic drug, N Bomb or 25i.

Six people got sick after the Cork house party attended by Mr Ryan but only the teen subsequently died.

The scenes of illness at the party were described as horrendous.

Judge Gerard O'Brien issued a warning to young people about the dangers of drugs after hearing evidence.

"Not all young people take drugs," he said.

"But what is alarming is the level of disrespect that people have for themselves and for their own safety by taking drugs that are illicit and by taking drugs that are manufactured by criminals."

"People think it is OK to do it simply because they are having a good time." Judge O'Brien was told that a group of around a dozen young people were having a four days party in Cork last January.

Alcohol and various types of drug were present.

Jessica O'Connor was in the company of Alex Ryan and used the dating app, Tinder, to match up with another young man.

She 'matched' with Ruairí Maher and, during their online conversation, queried whether specific drugs could be sourced.

Others at the party encouraged her to find drugs for such 'trips'.

Maher knew that Harry Clifton might have such drugs and initiated contact.

Eventually, Alex Ryan, Jessica O'Connor and Ruairi Maher went to Harry Clifton's premises at St Finbarr's Place in Cork.

Maher sourced 12 'trips' of a hallucinogenic drug Clifton told him was 2CB.

Unknown to all the young people, it was in fact a drug called 25i or N Bomb, an exceptionally dangerous designer party drug.

Maher bought the drugs for Euro 80 - and made a profit of Euro 40 by selling it to the others for Euro 120.

Judge O'Brien was told that Clifton knew the psychedelic drug was strong.

He used the drug himself and did so by swallowing a small quantity wrapped in paper.

Clifton gave them a smaller dosage and advised them to be very careful with it.

However, the court was told that Alex Ryan later ingested the drug by inhaling it - one of the most dangerous ways of consuming it.

When several other people at the party later began to get sick, Ruairi Maher became very concerned and rang the Gardai and the emergency services.

The court was told he now deeply regrets what happened.

Ms O'Connor was taken out of University College Cork (UCC) by her concerned parents and brought back to Kerry.

Clifton, who is from Kilkenny and has previous convictions for drug offences, fully co-operated with Gardai when, following a Health Service Executive (HSE) warning after the party goers became sick, they searched his property.

He also gave Gardai the name of the person who had supplied him with the drugs involved over the summer of 2015.

Clifton of St Finbarr's Place, Proby's Quay, Cork pleaded guilty to four charges.

These included having drugs in his possession for sale or supply on January 18 last.

The charges, all brought contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act, involve drugs including N Bomb, DMT, MDMA and cannabis.

The total value of the drugs involved was Euro 530.

Jessica O'Connor of Rosebank House, Ballyhar, Killarney, Co Kerry pleaded guilty to a single charge of possession of a controlled drug, namely N Bomb, for sale or supply in Cork city on January 18 last.

Ruairí Maher of Ballycurrane, Thurles, Co Tipperary pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiring with another to handle drugs, namely N Bomb, for sale or supply.

Last June, a Cork Coroner’s Court inquest into the death of Mr Ryan heard from Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster that he died from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy due to cardiac arrest after ingesting a psychedelic drug.

His organs were subsequently donated by his heartbroken family.

Mr Ryan of Liscahane, Millstreet, Co Cork, got sick at the house party at St Patrick’s Terrace, Green Street, Cork, on January 19 last.

He was rushed to Cork University Hospital (CUH) but died four days late on January 23after suffering irreversible brain damage.

Judge O'Brien adjourned sentencing of Clifton, Maher and O'Connor until Friday.

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