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Heroin user died in toilet of Belfast restaurant

A diner at a Belfast restaurant died after injecting himself with heroin in the toilets, an inquest has heard.

Laurence Glennon (34) choked on his vomit after taking the drug at the Ivory restaurant in Victoria Square in November last year.

He had been eating dinner with his girlfriend, Kathryn Dowds, who raised the alarm after he failed to return from the bathroom.

Coroner Joanne Donnelly heard that Mr Glennon, a post office worker from east Belfast, was found slumped in the disabled cubicle beside a used needle.

He had become addicted to the class A drug after taking prescription tablets to cope with recurring pain following a car accident. Ms Dowds said she was aware that Mr Glennon was taking heroin and frequently checked her boyfriend’s pockets for illegal medication.

“He was very down, he was worried about his pain, he was worried about the accident that he had had,” she told the court.

“That day he had not mentioned that he was feeling unwell, but he had seemed sleepy.”

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Mr Glennon was put on morphine by his GP after suffering multiple injuries to his ribs, pelvis and ankle in a car accident in January 2009.

He began taking heroin as an additional painkiller and was referred to a community addiction centre, the inquest heard.

On the day he died he had visited the beer festival at Belfast’s Ulster Hall before going to the city centre restaurant for an evening meal.

Mr Glennon was pronounced dead shortly before 9pm on November 19, 2010, after attempts to resuscitate him failed.

The coroner ruled out suicide but said Mr Glennon died from inhaling the contents of his stomach after he was poisoned by heroin.

She said she would report his death to the Health Minister and the Belfast Trust in a bid to raise awareness of the risks of prescribing highly addictive medication.

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