Belfast Telegraph

Drug victim who died of exposure 'a doting dad'

By CHRIS KILPATRICK

A father died of hypothermia as he desperately tried to cool his soaring body temperature after taking drugs, his family said.

Niall Smith's body was discovered along the banks of the River Erne in Enniskillen.

The 32-year-old electrician died close to his Carnmore Lodge home in the Co Fermanagh town.

His family last night said those who supplied the drugs were responsible for his death.

It is not yet known whether he took so-called speckled Rolex ecstasy – the drug that killed Twinbrook DJ Gerard Mulholland at the weekend.

The family of Mr Smith (below), who described him as "an absolute gem", said he had lived for his four-year-old son, Michael.

An uncle said Mr Smith was a recreational drugs user who was last seen by family members one week before the discovery of his body last Friday.

Francie Corrigan identified Mr Smith's body in rushes close to the river and believes he went there in an attempt to cool down, having taken drugs.

He said a post-mortem examination showed Mr Smith died from hypothermia.

"When Niall didn't show on Christmas Day we knew something was seriously wrong," Mr Corrigan told the Belfast Telegraph. "There's no doubt the drugs killed him. He didn't drown or go into the water."

Mr Corrigan had previously worked with Mr Smith in America.

He described his nephew as "a doting father" who would have done anything for those closest to him. Mr Corrigan said Niall's partner of 10 years, Lisa, was inconsolable.

"He was a great father, a great son, a great nephew. He was a great lad. This was just a weakness he had," he said.

"The people selling these drugs are responsible and I hope their luck runs out and the police catch them."

Following Mr Mulholland's death last Friday, police issued a warning about the speckled Rolex tablets.

It is believed Mr Mulholland had taken the drug before he and four other men became seriously ill.

Following his death, the DJ's family begged others not to dabble in potentially lethal drugs.

Over the past 10 years around 1,000 people have lost their lives as a result of drugs – an average of two every week.

On Monday, Health Minister Edwin Poots said the majority of people here were living "in blissful ignorance" of the shocking scale of Northern Ireland's drugs scourge.

Mr Smith's funeral took place on Monday.

QUOTE

"He was the nicest guy you would meet in life. He was a great father, a great son, a great nephew. He was a great lad, this was just a weakness he had."

Francie Corrigan, uncle of Niall Smith

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