Tuesday 17 September 2019

Man died of acute MDMA toxicity on the night of his 46th birthday

Robert Niak was discovered having a seizure on Dawson Street in Dublin

The Dublin Coroner's Court
The Dublin Coroner's Court

Louise Roseingrave

A 46-year-old man who died of acute MDMA toxicity was found critically ill on a Dublin street.

Passers-by stopped to help Robert Niak (46) who was having a seizure on Dawson Street in Dublin on the night of March 31, 2017.

“It was the night of his birthday and we know from CCTV footage he walked down Dawson Street, onto Nassau Street and then back to Dawson St. He was staggering out in front of traffic. He came back to Dawson Street before he lay down on the ground and he removed his shoes,” investigating Garda Stephen Farrelly said.

The man, originally from Poland, had no money but was carrying his passport and wallet and wearing multiple layers of clothing.

Authorities were unsure how he was surviving in Dublin.

“He had never come into contact with Gardai before,” Gda Farrelly said.

Witness Eoin Cassidy found the man lying on his back by a lamp-post around 11.30pm.

“He was convulsing, making noises and speaking in a foreign language,” Mr Cassidy said.

He phoned an ambulance and a doctor stopped to help. Chest compressions commenced and continued until paramedics arrived.

The man was rushed to St James’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after midnight.

The man's sister flew from the UK to identify the remains.

A post-mortem gave the cause of death as MDMA toxicity.

“The report shows a very high level of MDMA and also MDA, the breakdown product of that drug,” Deputy Coroner Dr Crona Gallagher said.

There was no alcohol or other drugs in the man’s system. The coroner returned a verdict of misadventure.

“There are some gaps in the knowledge as to how this came to be in his system, but the Gardai are satisfied there was nobody else involved,” the coroner said.

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