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Man (51) died after using cocaine

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 18/06/2008

The wife of a north Belfast man discovered his lifeless body in their bedroom hours after he snorted cocaine, an inquest heard yesterday.

Thomas McCartney (51) from the Limestone Road area of Belfast died on 18 December 2005.

Coroner Suzanne Anderson heard that Mr McCartney had been out drinking on 17th December 2005 in a bar with a couple of friends.

One of the friends, William Dickey, described Mr McCartney as someone who liked to drink and could consume between 10 and 15 drinks on an evening out.

Another friend who was socialising with Mr McCartney the night before he died said he was a big drinker and could drink a bottle of Jack Daniels a night.

Joseph Doak also said he had known Mr McCartney to smoke cannabis and take cocaine. Mr Dickey said during that night Mr McCartney had about three drinks and had smoked cannabis.

Mr McCartney went home in a taxi at around 11.30pm and complained to his wife Maureen that he was experiencing shortness of breath.

Mrs McCartney checked on him a couple of times but in her statement to the inquest said she thought he had had too much to drink.

She then fell asleep on the sofa at about 1.30am and awoke at about 9.15am to find his lifeless body on the bed.

A small packet of cocaine was discovered by police in his jeans pocket. A post mortem carried out by state pathologist Professor Jack Crane discovered traces of the drug in his nose and that he was moderately intoxicated.

Medical records also showed Mr McCartney had suffered from a heart condition.

Professor Crane said the three things that led to his death were the underlying heart condition, alcohol and taking the cocaine.

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