Four spared jail over Kinsale drug deaths

Friday 28 February 2014 21.33
Michael Coleman and Liam Coffey died in Kinsale in Co Cork
Michael Coleman and Liam Coffey died in Kinsale in Co Cork

Four people who were involved in the supply of a lethal cocktail of drugs to two men who later died have been given three-year suspended jail sentences at the Circuit Criminal Court in Cork.

Friends Michael Coleman and Liam Coffey died in Kinsale in Co Cork in September 2012 after taking the drugs.

Judge Donagh McDonagh said without drug dealers and suppliers there would be no drug users.

Mr Coleman was a 22-year-old chemical engineering graduate from Dungarvan, Co Waterford, who had just started a new job with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lily in Kinsale.

His friend Mr Coffey, also 22 and from Cappaquin, in Co Waterford, was visiting him for the weekend.

The court heard how they sought and obtained a quantity of drugs that ended up killing both of them.

The cocktail consisted of a mixture of powdered ecstasy and another potent amphetamine, known as PMMA.

David McGrath, with an address at Roman Street in Cork, knew both men from Waterford. He was sharing a flat at Roman Street with John O'Dwyer.

O'Dwyer contacted Victoria McCormack of Cornmill Apartments, Connell Street, in Cork, and she obtained the drugs from David Maguire of Harley Court, Togher, Cork.

Detective Garda Jason Wallace, who investigated the case, said all four were links in the chain of supply of the drugs to Mr Coleman and Mr Coffey.

Maguire sold an ounce, or approximately 28g, of the drug to McCormack for €1,100. She sold half the drugs she got to O'Dwyer for €700 and he sold 3g to McGrath for €240, the same price McGrath charged Mr Coleman and Mr Coffey for the drugs.

Maguire, McCormack, O'Dwyer and McGrath all pleaded guilty to a charge of drug dealing.

Maguire has two previous convictions for drug dealing. The three others have no previous convictions.

Judge McDonagh had remanded all four in prison for two nights while he considered his sentence.

He said he wished to give them "a flavour" of what might await them in the future.

He said while the roles of each of the four might not necessarily be equal, they all faced the same charge and to find one more culpable than another would be wrong.

Judge McDonagh said he accepted that all four defendants had been profoundly affected by the deaths of Mr Coleman and Mr Coffey.

However, he said society must express its abhorrence of crimes of this nature. He said drugs destroy lives and without drug dealers and suppliers there would be no drug users.

Judge McDonagh imposed a three-year suspended jail sentence on each of the four defendants. Each must submit to three-monthly urinalysis for the next five years.

Judge McDonagh also expressed his sympathy to the families of Mr Coleman and Mr Coffey.