Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Sportsman died after snorting cocaine

A sportsman in his 20s put his arms around his dad and begged him for help before his fatal collapse from cocaine poisoning, an inquest has heard.

Ryan Clarke, of Commedagh Drive in Belfast, was 11 days from his 26th birthday when he died in front of his brother and father, who the Coroner’s Court heard remained “extremely distressed” by his son’s death.

The deceased’s brother Robert told coroner Joanne Donnelly that he thought the unemployed roofer had been using cocaine for around two years while also using cannabis. Yet he said his younger brother enjoyed life and played sport.

“He was an avid sportsperson and played soccer and hurling from he was very young. He was very physically fit and played football every weekend.”

Mr Clarke spent the evening of his death on May 5, 2007, in the house he shared with his father Michael. He had been in his room for a few hours.

In a statement which was read to the court, Michael Clarke snr said: “At around 11.30pm I was suddenly aware of Ryan coming into the front room. He was out of breath.

“He was shaking and begged me to help him. He told me he could hardly see. He was clutching his heart and put his arms around me.

“I eased him to the ground and he started foaming at the mouth.”

Mr Clarke called his son, also called Michael, who tried to give CPR to his brother but the young man was pronounced dead at 11.50pm.

A post-mortem found cocaine in his bloodstream with evidence that the drug had been snorted around an hour before death. There was some cannabis detected but no alcohol.

The west Belfast man was otherwise healthy and had been to see his GP only a few times with minor complaints in the years coming up to his death.

Ms Donnelly found the young man had died as a result of cocaine poisoning.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz