Belfast Telegraph

Man died after asking friend for help injecting heroin, court hears

Stephen Millington
Stephen Millington

By Alan Erwin

A man allegedly killed his friend by injecting heroin after the victim couldn't find a vein, the High Court heard.

Mantas Cepas, 32, administered the lethal dose to Stephen Millington during a two-day drinking binge with their partners in Newry last month, a judge was told on Wednesday.

The defendant, a Lithuanian national with an address at Cowan Street in the city, is charged with manslaughter, along with possessing and supplying Class A drugs.

Bail was refused amid claims he may try to leave Northern Ireland.

Mr Millington, 51 and originally from South Africa, died of the suspected overdose at his Dublin Road flat on January 17.

Police called to the scene found him unconscious on the bathroom floor. He was pronounced dead a short time later.

Prosecution counsel David McClean said when officers arrived Cepas was holding a syringe and at first unwilling to hand it over.

The two friends' girlfriends were also present, with one of them stating that Mr Millington had given the accused £40 to go out and buy drugs.

Cepas returned with heroin power and then prepared it in solution form, the court heard.

Mr McClean said: "The witness stated that the deceased hadn't injected heroin prior to this... and asked for the applicant's assistance."

During interviews Cepas admitted purchasing the drugs with the money provided by his friend.

According to his account he mixed it up with water on a spoon and then agreed to inject it for Mr Millington.

"He said he asked the deceased if he was ok as he administered the injection, and got the response that it was 'good stuff'," Mr McClean continued.

"He emptied the contents of the syringe into his arm and then the deceased collapsed."

Cepas tried to perform emergency first aid before phoning for an ambulance, the court was told.

Defence barrister Kevin Magill argued that his client provided a full and frank account of what happened.

Mr Millington was to be "first in the queue" for the heroin before others in the flat took their turn, counsel said.

"He tried to self-administer, only when he couldn't find a vein he asked the defendant to administer on his behalf," Mr Magill contended.

"That's why the defendant finds himself here, because he acted on that request."

The barrister added that Cepas has been left deeply upset over the loss of his friend.

Denying bail, however, Mr Justice Burgess expressed concerns at the events surrounding the tragic events.

"It would appear that he (Cepas) had been taking heroin for some time... and was drinking for some two days," the judge said.

"I think there must be a grave concern on the part of the court that this applicant may well decide to leave the jurisdiction."

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