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Murder suspect's family may sue State in cell death

THE family of murder suspect Dwayne Foster, who died of methadone intoxication while in garda custody, may now consider legal action against the State.

Foster (24), of Woodbank Avenue, Finglas, Dublin, was being questioned about the murder of mum-of-one Donna Cleary in March 2006. He was found unresponsive in his cell and was later pronounced dead in hospital.

It was revealed that while in custody, the father-of-four had lied to a doctor by telling him he was on a methadone treatment programme and within a period of nine hours was given twice the maximum dose of methadone that a new user would usually receive.

Following a 19-day inquest which ended yesterday, his family, which includes six sisters and three brothers, said they were considering what options were now open to them.

After almost two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, the jury at his inquest issued a narrative verdict setting out the circumstances surrounding his death and recommending that a new methadone-prescribing protocol should be introduced in garda stations to deal with people in custody.

It also recommended access be provided out of office hours to the central treatment list which details whether a person is on a methadone programme, and that medical notes on a person in custody should be available to relevant parties.

Foster was pronounced dead in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, shortly after 3am on March 7, 2006, after a garda sergeant found him unresponsive in his cell at Coolock garda station.

A post mortem by the Deputy State pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, found he had died from methadone intoxication.

Dr Curtis also found 39 injuries on his body. However, Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that while issues had been raised about whether a disproportionate amount of force was used in restraining and arresting Foster, none of the injuries he sustained contributed to his death.