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Boyfriend of teen killed by drugs refused bail to attend funeral after plea from grieving family

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Matthew Darryl Taylor at an earlier court appearance

Matthew Darryl Taylor at an earlier court appearance

Emma Doogan

Emma Doogan

Matthew Darryl Taylor at an earlier court appearance

The boyfriend of a teenager found dead at her home has been refused compassionate bail to attend her funeral after her family told a court they do not want him there.

Matthew Taylor (24), from Meelmore Drive in Omagh, was arrested after his on/off girlfriend Emma Doogan was discovered lifeless in her flat by her family at the weekend.

Taylor faces a total of 10 charges connected to the possession and supply of Class A and C controlled drugs, namely ecstasy, cannabis and diazepam.

He was seeking bail to attend the 19-year-old's funeral which takes place in Omagh today.

Yesterday, Omagh Magistrates Court heard that her family had stated he is not wanted at the popular teenager's funeral.

A PSNI officer said that while she was not the investigating officer, she had spoken with the teenager's family about the matter.

District Judge Bernie Kelly described the officer's point as the most "pertinent one".

"That's the end of the compassionate bail as they do not want him there," she said.

"If a family makes it clear they do want person X to attend a funeral, then person X would be the most unthinking and uncaring in society of ever going to that funeral.

"He has to respect the next of kin's wishes."

Taylor's solicitor Colin O'Kane explained he was familiar with the chapel where Emma's funeral is taking place.

"It is taking place at the Christ of King chapel and there is a crying room in the chapel," he said.

A crying room is a space used for babies and young children or for privacy and is separate from the main body of the chapel.

"He would not have any direct contact with the family," Mr O'Kane added.

Judge Kelly refused the application saying: "If the family say they do not want him then any human with decency would respect their wishes.

"What thought processes would someone have to go against that human decency irrespective of how someone meets their end.

"When a family make arrangements and make it clear they do not want someone there at the most difficult period of someone's life they should respect that.

"They made it clear they do not want him there and do not want him to have anything to do with the funeral arrangements.

"He could have made himself next of kin but he did not. I have made my decision. He can appeal it if he wants."

Taylor, who appeared via video link, will return to court on September 5.

Emma's body was taken to the Christ of King church near her flat in Strathroy last night.

Her funeral will take place today.

Her mother, Susan requested everyone not to wear black and to send her off in a "riot of colour".

Earlier this week, Enniskillen Magistrates Court heard that Taylor is facing a further charge in connection with selling or supplying the prescription-only drug Lyrica. Taylor appeared visibly upset, and failed in his bid to be freed on bail on Monday.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said that Emma's death was clearly a tragic case and a "chilling example" of the dangers of the illicit use of drugs.

The judge said the defendant, who was "sadly known" to the deceased, had provided her with the illegal drugs that had led to her "untimely and sudden demise".

Mr Broderick said Taylor suffered from some form of drug addiction and had other offences on his record as a result of a failure to deal with that issue.

The judge expressed his fear that, if released, the defendant would be unable to deal with his addiction problem and attempt to re-involve himself in that behaviour.

Earlier, a PSNI detective constable, said she could connect Taylor with the charges.

She alleged that the deceased and Taylor had been involved in an "on/off" relationship for the past year.

The court also heard an eyewitness told the police that Emma had attended a house party last Thursday night that continued into the early hours of Friday. Mr O'Kane told the court that his client accepted that he supplied drugs to the deceased.

But he added that there was nothing to suggest that Taylor was involved in the wholesale dealing of drugs to the wider community.

Belfast Telegraph