Student nearly dies after binge drinking

Published Monday, 24 February 2014
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A Belfast student who ended up close to death from hypothermia after a binge drinking session at a city nightclub has told UTV Live Tonight that he regrets his actions.

Student nearly dies after binge drinking
Robert Kelly, pictured on his hospital bed. (© UTV)

Nineteen-year-old Robert Kelly drank a large quantity of alcohol during a drinks promotion at the Box nightclub in the Odyssey Arena on Thursday night, which he described as "a moment of madness."

The teenager spent the weekend in a hospital bed because he drank too much.

Robert made a full recovery and, although he did not want to be identified on camera, he wanted to tell his story to act as a warning to others.

On Thursday night, after downing a bottle and a half of wine and around six shots of tequila inside the club, he ended up so drunk he was asked to leave.

What happened next is still unclear.

Robert said that he was put out at around 11.30-11.45pm, only to be found at around 2.30am lying outside unconscious by a friend who worked for the club. He recognised Robert and, unable to wake him, he called an ambulance.

When the teenager eventually came round, it was about 8.30am the following morning and he was in a hospital bed.

The doctors told him that he very nearly died of hypothermia.

"It was just a night gone wrong, too much drink in too short a space of time," the young man said.

"Who knows what would have happened if I hadn't been found when I was," Robert admitted, adding that he feels "very, very lucky."

He said that he takes "full responsibility" for the amount he drank, describing it as "pure stupidity."

However, he told UTV that cheap drinks promotions were "too easy to resist."

But he believes that they should be limited - not banned.

Robert said that his actions had caused a lot of distress for his family.

The young man believes he could have suffered the same fate as his young cousin Joby Murphy, who died in January 2012 after a similar night out.

The 20-year-old fell into the river at the weir near the Odyssey Arena after he and his girlfriend had gone to a Snow Patrol concert.

His remains were not recovered from the river until weeks later, after sonar detection equipment was brought up from Co Cork by his family to take part in the search effort.

Robert's father John is angry at his son, but believes the club must shoulder some of the responsibility.

He told UTV: "The answer is no more cheap drink.

"Yes, they're over 18. I didn't let my son drink until he was 18.

"My son knows he's done wrong."

John added that while Robert made a mistake, he feels that he should not have been thrown out to the elements.

"I touched his arm in hospital. He was just like a dead body - a piece of ice."

Alan Mains, a security consultant for the Box, said all that could be done was done.

"Four hundred and forty eight people were there that night and enjoyed themselves and two were put out. I think that puts it into context."

He continued, saying the club "takes their responsibility very seriously."

Meanwhile, Robert has this message for young people.

"Just be careful when you're out, stay in a group, never go off on your own.

"Don't binge drink - definitely don't."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
10 Comments
Me Nationalist in Newcastle wrote (242 days ago):
No, the young man who chose to drink the alcohol is to blame. We can not blame other people for our actions and their consequences. We live in the age of the victim when everyone wants to be offended and people are quick to file law suits instead of shouldering blame for their actions. If I trip over a curb and break my leg thaf is my fault. It is not the fault of a council for placing a curb there. I should've been lookibg where I was going, i was taught that as a child. I have never blamed a pub for my hangover.
Peter in Belfast wrote (242 days ago):
The only thing that should be banned is stupid people drinking. Let the rest of us enjoy a cheap night out. Nobody forced him to drink like he did. It's always your own fault what you choose to put into your own body
Matt in Ulster wrote (242 days ago):
I cannot believe that these people have the audacity to blame the Night clubs and bars for their own demise! The blame must solely lie with the person drinking themselves into oblivion. I find it all a bit strange that this guy would go to the very night club in which his family deem responsible for what happened to his cousin only two years ago! People need to wake up and take responsibility for their own actions and stupidity!
Allan in Scotland wrote (242 days ago):
When,as a society,are we going to accept that we have a responsibility to look after ourselves and not rely on a nanny-state...It's not the bar's fault,nor the security team's.It's the adult's fault that chooses to drink. Best wishes on a speedy recovery...
sarah in belfast wrote (242 days ago):
I find it disappointing the lack of responsibility the club management and security are accepting. Clearly simply focussed on profit and not concerned enough with the safety of all customers. Left for almost three hours.......what if one young man died and 'four hundred and forty eight people were there and enjoyed themselves' - would that 'put it into context'??
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