Man jailed for supplying powerful painkiller to overdose friend

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A 34-year-old man who supplied a powerful painkiller to a friend who subsequently died of a drugs overdose has been handed a three-year prison sentence.

Timothy Gerard Ryan McIlroy, from Iris Street in Belfast, supplied patches of Fentanyl to a colleague over a six-month period in 2013.

Belfast Crown Court heard the 25-year-old colleague – who was addicted to painkilling medication – died of a drugs overdose in October 2013, and that one of a range of substances in his system was the opiate Fentanyl which had been supplied to him by McIlroy.

During sentencing, Her Honour Judge McCaffrey said that while she accepted McIlroy has displayed remorse for his friend’s death, she also spoke of the impact the young man’s passing has had on his family.

The deceased had completed a Masters in science and had just started a new job. Judge McCaffrey said his loss had devastated his family who have been left “utterly heartbroken”.

A victim impact statement revealed that as a family “there is a not a day goes past when we do not grieve his loss”.

The court heard that McIlroy – who has a history of cocaine misuse – was initially prescribed Fentanyl patches for back pain. However, he supplied his prescription to his friend and colleague, who used to smoke it rather than use the patches.

Judge McCaffrey said that McIlroy’s plea to both being concerned in the supply of Fentanyl between April and September 2013, and of supplying the class A substance in October 2013, indicated he acknowledged his involvement. The judge also pointed out that prior to the fatal overdose, McIlroy was aware of his friend’s addiction to pain relief medication.

Turning to McIlroy, Judge McCaffrey said that while she accepted he had stopped using cocaine for three years, he has since relapsed and has started misusing the drug again.

She also said that during his period of offending, McIlroy was trading his legally held and prescribed Fentanyl “to get money for cocaine”.

Judge McCaffrey handed McIlroy a three-year sentence, telling the west Belfast man he will spend 18 months in prison, followed by an 18-month period on supervised licence when he is released from jail.