Sunday 25 February 2018

Neknominate victim never drank in front of parents

Jonathan Byrne, from Leighlinbridge in Carlow, who lost his life on February 1, 2014
Jonathan Byrne, from Leighlinbridge in Carlow, who lost his life on February 1, 2014
Jonathan Byrne

Charlie Keegan

A 19-year-old man consumed a cocktail of three brands of spirits as part of a 'neknominate' social media challenge, before stripping down to his shorts and jumping into the River Barrow, an inquest has heard.

Jonathan Byrne, from Leighlinbridge in Carlow, who lost his life on February 1, 2014, couldn't swim and had a fear of water.

A hearing in Carlow Courthouse heard that his brother, Patrick, stated in a deposition that on February 1 last year his brother rang him about a neknomination he wanted to undertake away from the Byrne family home.

The game involved drinking a pint of alcohol in one go before nominating three friends to do the same on Facebook.

"Jonny never drank in front of either of my parents," Patrick said.

They travelled from Leighlinbridge to Mildford that evening.

"I had a can of Bulmers for the dare as that was what he usually drinks but he left that at home. Jonny would not have taken any drink during the day so he was stone cold sober when he got into the car," Patrick explained.

In Milford, Jonathan took out the three bottles and his brother recorded him on a mobile phone, the inquest heard.

"He poured Piranha, Captain Morgans and Jameson into a pint glass," Patrick said.

Afterwards Jonathan began to strip.

"Before I knew it he turned and ran into the river. I knew as soon as he hit the water that he was in trouble," Patrick said.

Garda Lorcan Byrne, a member of the Garda Support Water Unit at Santry Station, told of recovering the body from the River Barrow at Milford at 9.50 am on Sunday, February 2, 2014.

Dr Brendan Doyle, Carlow County Coroner, determined death was due to drowning.

The coroner said death occurred so quickly after ingestion that there was no time for the alcohol to reach the victim's blood or urine.

He said it was no consolation to the victim's family that the publicity surrounding the death probably saved other lives.

Irish Independent

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