Dealers of killer drug yet to be found

Published Monday, 28 July 2014
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An inquest into one of 20 deaths linked to an unregulated stimulant drug has heard police have been unable to trace those responsible for selling it in Northern Ireland.

A senior detective giving evidence on Monday told Coroner John Leckey that a lack of information from the public meant they have not tracked down the culprits pushing the lethal stimulant.

The inquest heard about the death of 21-year-old Connor Paul Cochrane from Banbridge, who took a cocktail of substances in November last year, including Para-Methyl -4-Methylaminorex.

Connor, who had Asperger's syndrome and a history of drug and alcohol misuse, was found dead in his bedroom at home.

The court was told that Para-Methyl -4-Methylaminorex had caused Connor's body to overheat, leading to fatal swelling of the brain.

His mum, Sharon Cochrane, said at Newry Courthouse, she wanted to remember him as a caring and unique character who loved music.

She added that she wants the PSNI to divert more resources towards combating the problem drug.

She warned all young people to be aware of the dangers of so-called 'legal highs' that can be very dangerous.

I don't want any other family to go through the loss, upset and distress of losing a son or daughter.

Sharon Cochrane, Connor’s mother

The substance has been found in seven countries, and is often sold as ecstasy-like drug, sometimes known as 'Speckled Cherries' or 'Green Rolexes'.

A senior forensic scientist told the inquest that the drug has caused eight deaths in Hungary.

The drug is technically not illegal, however police are able to bring charges against those who sell drugs that ultimately kill.

At a previous inquest hearing, Coroner Leckey publicly queried whether manslaughter charges can be brought against the dealers.

On Monday he asked Detective Inspector Andrew Dunlop, to give an overview of the investigation.

The detective expressed a "frustration" over current legislation and the ability police have to strike against new emerging drugs.

He said new intelligence would be key to making progress on tracking down the source of the drug, which he believed was imported from the Netherlands.

"Members of the public must know how to get these drugs and the identity of the individuals who can be approached," he said.

Det Insp Dunlop insisted his officers were determined to catch the dealers.

"I can assure you Mr Coroner and indeed the family of Connor that we definitely have done everything we can to identify where they were coming from and who was supplying them," he added.

"We have done our bit as best we can to identify those people and bring them to justice."

© UTV News
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10 Comments
Paul in Belfast wrote (94 days ago):
It will stop when the Govt legalise them and allow people to make their own choice but unfortunately these dinosaurs we vote see this as another moral victory when really they should try to ensure that young people can get their tablets tested before consumption. People are still going to take these drugs so why doesnt the Govt try to make it safe?
Belfast Antrim in Belfast Antrim wrote (94 days ago):
The police know whos got the hard drugs in belfast but again they dont want to make a move on them there is one north belfast / antrim family up to there eyes in drugs stealing guns robbing people but nothing is ever done. How can you go from having nothing to having flash cars buying houses best of clothes buying land going on holidays 4 & 5 times a year without the psni asking how can they do it. Same old story they cant wont press charges against people giving them info. Time the psni took a lot of these people down and clean up ni. Drugs are for mugs.
me in bfast wrote (94 days ago):
if drugs where legal and regulated like alcohol/pharmaceuticals these incidents would not happen. whos fault is this really, the manufacturer, the importer, the haulage firm, the courier, the dealer on the street?? or how about the government for failing in a duty of care towards its citizens?
seanie in dungannon wrote (95 days ago):
Is anyone surprised its cheaper for kids to get off their faces on drugs than to get drunk and drugs can be bought everywhere sadly the PSNI are targeting dangerous drivers this week instead of busting the dealers they know.
Gak in newcastle wrote (95 days ago):
Very,very SIMPLE way of massively cutting the number of dealers. You run a reward scheme of paying £500 for each dealer touted on. This works very well for dole fiddlers,it could also work for fuel launders. Why is it not being used in this rotten crime riddled society?
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