Saturday 21 April 2018

'Dr Death' drug link to death 
of woman

The Dublin Coroners Court, Store St. Pic Tom Burke.
The Dublin Coroners Court, Store St. Pic Tom Burke.

Gareth Naughton

A YOUNG woman's death was the fourth in a month to be linked to the toxic amphetamine known as 'Dr Death'.

Laura Richardson (26) died from the toxic effects of cocaine and the drug PMA, a Dublin Coroner's Court inquest heard.

It was the fourth inquest in the past month where death involved a combination of cocaine, PMA, and the stimulant benzylpiperazine. All four people died within a period of just over a month, starting with the June bank holiday last year.

"These drugs, especially the amphetamines, are very unpredictable in their effect and then you add in cocaine and you have a situation where sudden adverse reactions can occur," said Coroner Dr Brian Farrell.

"We have seen a number of deaths recently with these combinations of PMA, benzylpiperazine and cocaine."

Ms Richardson, of Bremore Pastures Crescent in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, was found collapsed on the kitchen floor by her fiance at a house where they were staying in Edenmore on the afternoon of July 7 .

Her fiance, John McLoughlin, said that the day before her death, he and Ms Richardson were taking "small amounts" of cocaine and drinking.

He did not see her take any tablets in the hours before her death, he said.

Ms Richardson went to bed at 3am on the morning of her death while Mr McLoughlin stayed up. He said that she woke up again at 7.30am and they had a few drinks together.

He woke up at 3pm and came downstairs to find Ms Richardson lying on the ground in the kitchen. "She looked dead," he said. He started CPR immediately, calling the emergency services, but she was pronounced dead at Beaumont Hospital.


Neighbour Aideen Cassidy was the last person to see her alive. She had returned to the house at around midday after going to the shops.

She said when she was in the house Ms Richardson started to get "a bit panicky" so she took her outside for air and she began to calm down. As she left, Ms Richardson told her she was going to have a rest. "She was more relaxed and seemed okay," she said.

The coroner said that the toxicology screen at postmortem showed evidence that Ms Richardson had taken cocaine contaminated with horse tranquilliser Levamisole as well as PMA, ecstasy and benzylpiperazine in addition to alcohol.

There were no suspicious circumstances in the death or evidence of deliberate self-harm, he said, before giving a verdict of death by misadventure.

Irish Independent

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