Sunday 17 December 2017

Teen laid to rest after suspected overdose

Isabel Hurley

HE was a happy boy who loved Manchester United and rap music before his life was cut short at just 14.

James Berry -- known to all his friends as 'Fluffy' -- was found unconscious in his bed in Edenderry, Co Offaly, on Sunday morning. Tragically, he died of a suspected methadone overdose shortly after returning home from socialising. Gardai are still investigating how he obtained the drug as he was not a methadone user.

Attempts by his family and the emergency services to revive him failed and he was rushed to Tullamore Hospital where he lost his fight for life on Tuesday.

Yesterday, mourners clapped as his own touching words were read from the altar. James penned a poem called 'Money Cash' last year. "You are poor without it and you are poor with it. Alcohol is like quicksand, you keep sinking,'' the teenager had written.


James, from Greenwood Park, Edenderry, Co Offaly, loved to rap. He was described as being full of character and energy.

Edenderry came to a standstill as his funeral cortege, bedecked with 'Fluffy' spelt out in flowers and a floral red-and-black Manchester United shirt, wound its way slowly to St Mary's Church.

His grief-stricken parents, Martina Scully and Wallace Berry, walked behind with family and friends.

Local parish curate Fr Greg Corcoran gave thanks for the 14 years of good memories given by James to his family. He said that the boy lived a "full and hectic" life.

From the age of eight, James was closely involved with the local Acorn Project and his mentor Kevin Farrell gave a moving oration for him.

"James, or Fluffy as everyone called him, was a super kid. He was fiercely proud of his family and he especially loved his mother Tina. He was someone that other people, young or old, could really relate to. He was special that way, he had something. He could be challenging, he could be a rascal but he had a good heart, he was full of kindness and compassion,'' he said.

"In his own way, James was a bit of a thinker, a philosopher. We will all really miss him. It was a privilege to know him,'' added Mr Farrell to applause.

At St Mary's Church graveside, the popular rapping song 'Notorious' was played while a stream of mourners sympathised with his parents and six brothers and sisters.

A post-mortem has been conducted on the boy's remains but the full results of toxicology tests won't be known for a number of weeks. At this stage, it is believed a mixture of alcohol and methadone could be responsible for his death.

Irish Independent

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