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Tuesday 21 January 2020

Teen was wearing bulletproof vest before death

Georgina O'Halloran

A TEENAGER who died after taking cocaine that was cut with a toxic level of lignocaine had been wearing a bulletproof vest for more than a week before his death, an inquest has heard.

Warren Sunner, (19), of Oriel Hall, Dublin 1, was found dead in the bedroom of his house on November 13, 2009.

A post-mortem found he died from the combined toxic effects of cocaine, lignocaine and sedative drugs. Lignocaine is a heart drug and local anaesthetic which increases the toxic effects of cocaine.

It is toxic from six micrograms per millilitre.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell told Mr Sunner's family at the Dublin City Coroner's Court yesterday that the teenager had a huge amount of lignocaine in his system.

A toxicology screening found he had cocaine and breakdown products of cocaine in his blood, as well as a level of lignocaine of 29 micrograms per millilitre.

Mr Farrell said they had had a lot of inquests of young people in recent years because of cocaine cut with lignocaine.

"There is a problem at the moment. Cocaine is cut with lignocaine and there is a high concentration of lignocaine in this cocaine. It's a problem in the last year to 18 months or longer."

Speaking from the body of the court, members of Mr Sunner's family said the 19-year-old was afraid for his life and had been wearing a bulletproof vest for a week and a half before his death and had never taken it off. Mr Sunner had also self-harmed in the past.

Mr Farrell said he would have to record an open verdict because of concerns expressed by the family but he said his own view was it was probably a misadventure.

"I'm not at all sure he intended to harm himself. It may well have been an accident," Mr Farrell said.

Irish Independent

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