Belfast Telegraph

Parents' pain as duo ejected from court after yelling abuse at dead man's mother

Witness may have lied under oath over details of drug tragedy in house, hearing told

By Angela Rainey

Anger erupted at an inquest as a brother and sister who denied knowing anything about a friend who was found dead in their flat were ejected from court along with their grandmother.

The dramatic scenes unfolded at Laganside Court, with coroner Joe McCrisken forced to restore order after the siblings, who were called to be witnesses at the inquest into the death of Christopher Moore, hurled abuse at his grieving parents.

The hearing was told that Mr Moore (28), from Lisburn, was found dead in Ulida House, Belfast, on February 22 - his death caused by poisoning from taking too many prescription drugs.

His mother, Caroline, said that she wanted to find out happened on the night of his death because "there were still some unanswered questions".

She told the inquest her son was a hard worker who loved his job as an engineer, that he "had a lot to live for" and that he loved racing motorbikes.

She also explained that he had been diagnosed with ADHD aged 10 and as an adult suffered from anxiety, for which he was on the drug Pregabalin.

His mother said that on recognising that he was abusing the drug by taking too many, the doctor changed his prescription to daily collection so he could not collate large quantities.

But dramatic scenes erupted as the coroner called siblings Jason and Tamsin Strain, tenants of the flat where Mr Moore was found, to give evidence.

Speaking directly to the coroner, Jason Strain asked: "Is it true I don't even have to be here?" Replying, Mr McCrisken informed him that he was obliged to be in attendance, having been the one who called the ambulance.

When questioned, Mr Strain said he could not remember anything of the night of Mr Moore's death because he had taken diazepam, beer and Buckfast and had fallen asleep before 10pm.

Tamsin Strain claimed that she too could not remember anything, including which of them called the ambulance for Mr Moore, saying they had all "fallen asleep drunk".

But Mrs Moore challenged the pair, saying they had told her Christopher collapsed around 10pm after being sick and that they had put him to bed.

The Strains denied making the comment and began heckling Mrs Moore, who said: "I am not accusing you of anything, I just want to know what happened to my son".

Ms Strain began to hurl abuse at Mrs Moore, joined by her brother, before the coroner restored order. He warned the pair that they would taken to the cells in handcuffs for their abuse, before asking security to throw them out with their grandmother. The three were then led out of the building.

In their absence, Mr McCrisken said he suspected "Miss Strain has just committed perjury - she was lying under oath" before issuing a third witness, Brooke Jordan, with a £1,000 fine for failing to attend.

A paramedic told the court Mr Moore had collapsed and that Tamsin Strain showed him how she had photographed Christopher on her phone before helping her brother put him to bed.

It was also clarified that Mr Strain spoke on the phone to the operator, who instructed him on how to perform CPR.

Police told the court that the Strains were seen cleaning up the flat as the PSNI arrived.

Mr McCrisken said: "I will be writing to the Chief Medical Officer with the support of state pathologist Professor Crane and reporting this frequency of deaths occurring by prescription drugs.

"It is the modern role of the coroner to save lives by trying to prevent deaths. In this case, if it at least stops one person from picking up a packet of tablets and taking them and their life being saved, something positive may have come from all of this."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph