Sunday 4 December 2016

Teen died after taking ecstasy friend bought on Facebook

Marese McDonagh

Published 27/10/2016 | 02:30

Noel Roddy and his daughter Enya at the inquest of Ava Roddy; below, coroner Eamon MacGowan arriving at Sligo Coroner’s Court. Photos: James Connolly
Noel Roddy and his daughter Enya at the inquest of Ava Roddy; below, coroner Eamon MacGowan arriving at Sligo Coroner’s Court. Photos: James Connolly

A teenager died after taking ecstasy that her friend had bought on social media, an inquest has heard.

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Coroner Eamon MacGowan criticised our "binge" culture after hearing that Ava Roddy (19) died after ingesting a cocktail of illegal drugs mixed with alcohol.

Sligo Coroner's Court heard Ava, from Church View, Boyle, Co Roscommon, was found unresponsive on a minibus outside the 360 nightclub in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, in the early hours of September 30, 2013.

She and a group of friends had been invited to a Christening party in Boyle earlier that day and the jury heard one of them had bought ecstasy tablets through a contact on Facebook.

Inspector Ray Mulderrig, who led the investigation, told Coroner MacGowan that following a lengthy investigation, gardaí identified the two men who had supplied drugs to the young women.

A file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions but because of a Court of Appeal ruling which identified a defect in the law, they were unable to prosecute the suppliers. He said that anomaly had since been corrected.

Coroner Eamon MacGowan arriving at Sligo Coroner’s Court. Photos: James Connolly
Coroner Eamon MacGowan arriving at Sligo Coroner’s Court. Photos: James Connolly

The jury heard that a group of five friends, including Ava and her older sister Enya, were invited to a Christening party in Boyle on September 29, 2013.

They decided they would take ecstasy, and one of the group, Cliona Dooley, also from Church View, said she approached someone from Carrick-on-Shannon on Facebook. The next day, he handed her five tablets wrapped in tissue which were blue/grey in colour and in the shape of a ghost.

The friends met up in one of their homes and were drinking Heineken. The ecstasy was distributed and later they went to the Alley Bar in Boyle, where they talked about getting more ecstasy.

Ava took an ecstasy tablet in the bar, the jury heard. Later, the group went to the 360 nightclub in Carrick and witnesses saw Ava barefoot and sitting on the floor. Two staff members said they had escorted her outside to get some fresh air and after seeing her embrace another young woman, they assumed she was OK.

The driver of the minibus, Seamus Furey, described it as "the worst night ever working on the bus".

He said the young woman was agitated and was "kicking and banging". Some of her friends were saying she was OK but he called an ambulance. When paramedics arrived, she was unresponsive.

Consultant pathologist Dr Malcolm Little said toxicology results showed evidence of quite a significant number of drugs, including paramethoxyamphatamine, ecstasy, and BZP (benzylpiperazine), as well as alcohol. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of death by misadventure.

The coroner said he did not want to lecture society but he believed "we suffer from a binge society, especially in relation to alcohol". But Mr MacGowan said that "with illegal drugs, you do not know what you are doing".

He extended sympathy to Ava's father Noel Roddy.

Irish Independent

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