Saturday 10 December 2016

'The cocaine was a total shock, we knew nothing about that' - Family of DJ whose death was linked to Nek Nomination

Verdict of death by misadventure returned at inquest of Ross Cummins

Louise Roseingrave

Published 05/11/2015 | 13:42

Ross Cummins
Ross Cummins

The dangerous internet craze Nek Nomination played a part in the death of a DJ (22) who died after he ‘threw back’ a pint of whiskey.

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An inquest into the death of Ross Cummins, from Stella Gardens, Irishtown, Dublin 4 heard that while the circumstances of his death did not fit the exact definition of the Nek Nomination drinking game, the craze had been a factor in his death.

Mr Cummins, a DJ described as ‘the life and soul of the party’ was found unresponsive on his friend’s couch on February 1 2014.

“The circumstances don’t fit the definition of a Nek Nomination, but there was talk (at the party) of Nek Nomination and it seems that may have put the idea in his head,” Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said.

The Cummins family paid tribute to their son after the coroner returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

“He was a wonderful lad,” the young man’s father, Robert Cummins said. “The cocaine was a total shock, we knew nothing about that,” he said.

His two older brothers were too upset to attend the inquest, Ross Cummins’ mother Jackie Cummins said.

“They did everything together. He is hugely missed by everyone,” she said.

The deceased’s girlfriend Niamh Murphy said he was full of life and fun. “He was always the life and soul of the party,” she said.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard how Mr Cummins went to his friend Alan Boland’s house at Macken Street on Friday, Jan 31 2014 where he drank alcohol and took cocaine with a group of friends. They went out to a bar in Dublin before returning to the house, where the party continued.

One of the group, Alice Eccles, said Mr Cummins was in good form and was chatty. She met him for the first time that night.

“There was talk of Nek Nominations and Ross said, ‘I could do that.’ He filled a pint glass with whiskey and drank it down in a matter of seconds,” she said.

The coroner asked if the mention of Nek Nomination could have put the idea in his head

“It could have done... He just threw it back,” she said.

Laura Byrnes told the court that Mr Cummins filled the pint glass with whiskey and said ‘I bet you I can do this.’

“He downed it in one. We were pretty shocked when he did it. I remember talking to him after and it looked as if he’d had a stroke or something,” she said.

Both girls learned of Mr Cummins’ death on Facebook the following day.

Alan Boland said he told his friend not to drink the whiskey ‘but he downed it in one go.’

He said placed his friend on the couch and took a picture of him and shared it on Whats App ‘to show how asleep he was.’ He slept on a chair opposite Mr Cummins but when he woke the following morning his friend was ‘white as a ghost.’ Emergency services arrived but Mr Cummins was unresponsive and was pronounced dead at 1.30pm.

A toxicology report showed he had a fatal blood alcohol level of 420mg per cent.

The toxicology report found cocaine in his system, which was contaminated with levamisole, a worming medicine used on cows and horses.

The cause of death was cardio respiratory failure due to acute alcohol toxicity with cocaine.

The ‘Nek Nomination’ craze swept across social media such as Facebook early in 2014. Participants were challenged to film themselves downing alcohol drinks before nominating someone else to continue to the challenge.

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