Belfast Telegraph

Tragic Caitlin McVeigh-Conlon's mum in drug warning after Belfast teen killed by cocaine and ecstasy

By Claire O'Boyle

A heartbroken mum yesterday pleaded with young people to stay away from drugs a year after her beloved daughter was killed by cocaine and ecstasy.

Caitlin McVeigh-Conlon, who had a six-month-old daughter, was just 18 when she accidentally overdosed at her home in west Belfast.

Speaking yesterday after the inquest into her daughter's death, devastated mum Paula Conlon said: "This was so out of character for Caitlin. I didn't even know she knew about drugs like this and I can only imagine that this was the first time she'd used them.

"It's unbelievable that this is how things turned out for her because she had so much going for her.

"She adored her little girl, she couldn't be without her and she was such a good wee mummy. She'd never have left her.

"Things like this are so dangerous that even if you take them as a one-off or even just once in a while, this is what can happen.

"I'm left without my beautiful daughter and my granddaughter is left without her mummy.

"It's not something to mess about with and I would beg people not to try them because you never know what will happen."

Ms McVeigh-Conlon spent the night before she died with her mum and partner Dylan Conlon at the house she had just moved into with her young daughter, the inquest heard. With her granddaughter safely asleep in bed, Ms Conlon (43) left her daughter's house at midnight while Ms McVeigh-Conlon's partner stayed and her older brother, Ryan Conlon, arrived later with a friend.

It was not until late the next afternoon, at almost 5pm on February 28 last year, that Dylan Conlon called 999. Friends wept as the distressing phonecall was played at the inquest.

Sadly, by the time paramedics arrived, it was too late and the business studies and childcare student had passed away.

Coroner Joe McCrisken said while there was confusion over the exact time of Ms McVeigh-Conlon's death, he believed it was likely she had died between 5am and 9am that morning.

His judgement was based on evidence given by medical and scientific experts.

Ms McVeigh-Conlon's partner was asked to attend the inquest, but did not turn up.

Mr McCrisken said he had powers to impose a fine of up to £1,000 for failing to attend an inquest and that it was something he intended to pursue in this case.

He said he would also explore other possibilities as giving evidence at an inquest was not optional.

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