Wednesday 7 December 2016

Teen girl died after taking cocktail of drugs bought through 'Facebook contact'

Marese McDonagh

Published 26/10/2016 | 15:15

Photo by Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo by Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A coroner has criticised our “binge” culture after hearing that a 19 year old girl died after ingesting a cocktail of illegal drugs mixed with alcohol.

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Sligo Coroners Court heart that Ava Roddy a native of Church View, Boyle Co Roscommon was found unresponsive on a mini bus 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 Eamon MacGowan that following a lengthy investigation, Gardai had identified the two men who had supplied  drugs to the young women, and had submitted a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

But because of a Court of Appeal ruling which had identified a defect in the law, they were unable to prosecute the suppliers. He said that anomaly had since been corrected.

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 that they would take some 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 pulled up outside her door and handed her five tablets wrapped in tissue which were blue/grey in colour and in the shape of a ghost.

They met up in the home of one of the friends 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. She told her friends she could get more off someone in the pub and she was later seen with 10 tablets “wrapped in a paper like sweets” .

She told one friend that they cost €60 and they had to pay for them by the following Friday.

Later they 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, apparently her sister, they assumed she was okay.

Another staff member Alino Abramian said she had seen the young woman falling while she was either trying to sit on or get off  a high stool. She had fallen on her back and when she got up she asked for water. The witness said Ava fell down some steps in the club.

The driver of the minibus Seamus Furey from Boyle who described it as “the worst night ever working on the bus” said when she was helped back on, the young woman was agitated  “kicking and banging” and putting her feet up on the window.

Some of her friends were saying she was okay but he called an ambulance. When paramedics arrived she was unresponsive

The jury heard that people were shouting and roaring at paramedics when they tried to  help her on the bus.

Consultant pathologist Dr Malcolm Little who outlined the post mortem results said toxicology results showed evidence of quite a significant number of drugs  including paramethoxamphatamine, Ecstasy, and BZP (Benzylpiperazine) as well as alcohol.

It was impossible to say how much the deceased had taken as they could have been ingested over a long period. He said the amount of alcohol was “moderate”, the equivalent of about two pints, but the problem was the combination  of drugs and alcohol.

The jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure. The cause of death was acute pulmonary congestion and oedema.

They recommended that the message go out that the effects of illegal drugs can be magnified when taken with “even moderate amounts of alcohol”.

Referring to “peer pressure”, 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 at least there were measures with alcohol but “with illegal drugs you do not know what you are doing”.

He extended sympathy to Ava’s father Noel Roddy who had been at home that night in Boyle when he got the call from Gardai “which is every parent’s worst nightmare”.

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