Police have never traced the source of a lethal heroin batch which claimed the life of a Magherafelt man and caused at least 12 other people to accidentally overdose, an inquest has heard.
Trevor Thomas Anderson (38) from Sandymount died of “heroin toxicity” three days before Christmas last year.
The deadly drugs that killed the father-of-three are believed to have come from a contaminated stash of heroin which was circulating in Ballymena at the time.
Coroner Joanne Donnelly heard how the unemployed joiner’s friend Darren McWilliams drove him to Doury Road in Ballymena where he bought heroin on the evening of December 21.
Mr McWilliams described how the dead man, known as ‘Dandy’ to his friends, injected himself with a lethal dose of the drug in the back seat of his car on the return journey to Magherafelt.
He said that within 20 minutes Mr Anderson fell unconscious in his car.
After arriving at Mr Anderson’s home he was met by two of Mr Anderson’s friends who tried to resuscitate him.
When all attempts failed he was taken to the Mid-Ulster Hospital in Magherafelt by Mr McWilliams where he was later declared dead.
Mr McWilliams told the dead man’s mother Ruth, who attended the inquest, that the reason he didn’t take her son directly to the Mid-Ulster hospital was because he “was afraid of getting him in trouble”.
He said: “I am sorry Mrs Anderson, I should have taken him straight to the hospital.”
A PSNI detective who investigated the events surrounding Mr Anderson’s death said when he entered the dead man’s home he found a syringe on a kitchen worktop and other drug taking material in a bathroom.
The policeman said that once Mr Anderson’s phone was found attempts were made to track down the source of the deadly drugs.
He said: “When I got hold of Mr Anderson’s phone we did quite a lot of work and were able to establish his final calls. Many of the numbers were linked to unregistered phones, pay as you go phones. The investigation has bottomed out since we finished the telecommunications inquiries. We had no new leads at all.”
The inquest heard how bosses at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust were so concerned by the spate of accidental overdoses in the week beginning December 15 last year they issued a Press statement warning heroin users of the potential danger.
The coroner recorded a finding of accidental death.