Belfast Telegraph

Death of Aidan McCabe, initially investigated as murder, was a drugs overdose

Aidan McCabe
Aidan McCabe

By Donal McMahon

An inquest into the death of a Newry man at a "house party gone wrong" initially investigated as murder has found he died from an accidental drugs overdose.

Aidan McCabe was found dead on March 13 last year at a house in Acorn Hill, Bessbrook.

The PSNI was alerted to the south Armagh address following a 999 call by a "hysterical female" at approximately 10.15am.

Police found 34-year-old Mr McCabe, a resident of shared living accommodation at Kilmorey House in Newry, dead in an upstairs bed with a female hugging him.

CPR was carried out by two constables until the Ambulance Service arrived and took over. However, he was pronounced dead at 12.26pm.

The deceased's father Derek McCabe told coroner Suzanne Anderson that losing his son had been "devastating". "He had a major problem with drugs and mental health with anxiety," said Mr McCabe. "He was always trying to fix himself, but really making himself worse, you couldn't get through to him. He just took too much."

The unemployed bricklayer's sudden death was initially investigated by the PSNI as a potential murder due to a confessed assault by a female on the night in question and the unknown circumstances surrounding the fatality.

However, following a post-mortem examination report by pathologist Dr Peter Ingram, all six people arrested at the scene of the death were no longer investigated for murder.

An assault investigation was carried out related to a 40-year-old female at the house party, who admitted striking Mr McCabe after he had held her down on a settee.

The woman, who had a broken hand at the time following a previous assault by a male known by the deceased, stated that she had removed a metal splint support before striking out at Mr McCabe, who was holding her down in an intoxicated state.

"I'd been beaten by a man a week before and I wasn't going to let it happen again," she told the inquest.

Bruises were sustained to Mr McCabe's eyes and jaw with lacerations to his lip.

A build-up of blood was found in the deceased's respiratory system.

However, Mr Ingram said the cocktail of prescribed and non-prescibed drugs killed Mr McCabe, with the overload of opioids depressing the part of the brain responsible for breathing.

The inquest heard that the drugs alone would have killed the Newry man, with the assault playing no part.

On the night in question Mr McCabe arrived at the Bessbrook house at approximately 11pm.

He was described by those at the house party as "dribbling badly" and "couldn't walk straight" being "badly out of it".

It was said that the deceased had been injecting cocaine and taking strips of Xanax and Lyrica tablets.

Following an altercation with the female, Mr McCabe was "cleaned up in the kitchen" by the same woman and continued socialising through the night. He was later discovered dead in the morning in a bed with two other females.

A toxicology report following his death also found that Mr McCabe was self-medicating with further anxiety drugs Pregabalin (Lyrica) and Alprazolam (Xanax), as well as cocaine and alcohol.

Coroner Anderson reported her findings as "accidental death" and offered her "very deepest sympathies to the family" of the deceased.

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