First known ‘bombing’ drug death

Craigavon Court House
Craigavon Court House

A Lurgan man who was killed by a mephedrone substitute is the first person in Northern Ireland believed to have died while taking it using a technique known as “bombing”, an inquest at Craigavon courts heard yesterday.

David McAdam, 28, was found by his father, Harold, at their family home at Demesne Avenue, Lurgan on June 22 last year. His father went to wake him as normal just after 9am but found him on top of his bed covers.

“I touched him and he was cold. I realised he was dead,” he said. “He had taken a bath and was in good form, watching television,” he said of the time he and his wife Louise had spent with David the night before.

David had lived on his own for 10 years and had worked in furniture assembly and delivery and at Sainsburys. However, he suffered mental health issues since the age of 14, and had four drug overdoses over a decade. He was also schizophrenic, the court heard

“He was looking forward to getting his own place again via Praxis in Portadown,” his father said. “He had furniture ordered to be delivered.”

He added: “It was so out of character at that point in time for anything to happen.”

Two bags of white powder in David’s bedroom contained MDMA [ecstacy] and 4-Mec or methylethcathinone, a mephedrone substitute.

Police described the last text messages he sent: “Tell everyone I loved them, even random strangers,” one said, while another said “he wished he was dead”.

A third said: “I am going to be in trouble in the morning with my parents,” which police believed meant he expected to wake up in the morning.

Pathologist Dr James Lyness said David died from toxic levels of 4-Mec. In his stomach he found 21 rolled up pieces of cigarette paper which the drug had been wrapped in, a technique he said was known as “bombing”.

Asked if he had seen a fatality from “bombing” before, he answered: “No, this is the first case.”

Dr Nigel Rodden, a psychiatrist who had been treating David, said there had been no evidence of suicide risk.

“David had been given high levels of support and I can see no way his death could have been prevented,” he said. “He was aware of the risks [of abusing drugs] and he chose to continue.” He added that David “used the euphoria to escape some of the difficulties he struggled with”.

Speaking afterwards, Harold McAdam said: “He was our son and we loved him and miss him.

“You do everything you can for your children,” he added.