A 30-year-old father of four died after taking up to 13 ecstasy tablets at a Letterkenny house party, an inquest has heard.
David Orr, a mechanic from Trentamucklagh St. Johnston, died on January 2nd 2008 after he celebrated the New Year by drinking vodka and taking ecstasy with friends.
The inquest into his death at Letterkenny Coroner’s Court heard he had taken five times the toxicity level of the drug.
The jury returned a verdict of death due to MDMA or ecstasy toxicity.
His wife Susan told the court the couple went to Letterkenny on New year’s Eve where they joined friends and family at her sister Kathleen’s house in Lismonaghan
She went home at 1.20am and left David at the house. She spoke to him at 3.30am and said she could tell by his voice he was taking drugs, she said. He did not come home that night and when she rang him at 10.30am the next morning he said he was in a pub in Lifford with friends.
He came home with his friends and fell asleep on the sofa. He woke up about 7.30pm feeling sick and arranged to go out again.
Mrs. Orr said her husband went out before 9pm and told her he would be not be back late. “That was the last time I saw him alive,” she said.
Under questioning from coroner John Cannon she said her husband did have a drink problem but denied he had a problem with drugs.
Mr. Orr went to Lettterkenny with his friends where he joined a house party at the home of his wife’s brother James Mitchell who lived in Lismonaghan with his wife and four children. Leanne Mitchell, his wife’s sister, told the court David Orr was drinking vodka “almost raw” at the house before he took “a load of drugs” at 3am. She said he took nine tablets in one go and another one later. When the drugs took effect he was “going round and round on the floor kicking the TV and the DVD player”. She said David was later lying on the floor “straight as a poker with his fists clenched beneath his chin talking to himself”. It was decided to take him to Nowdoc in Leanne’s car. She said he was alive when he was taken to the car.
James Mitchell said he and Mr. Orr had taken ecstasy tablets on a regular basis. On the night in question he and another man took two ecstasy tablets each while David Orr took a handful of tablets, maybe five or six.
About half an hour later Mr. Orr was rolling on the floor although he was not aggressive, he said.
He said he had seen him in that condition a few times before. Later on his sister Leanne told him that David was not breathing. Mr. Mitchell drove his sister’s car with David in the passenger’s seat to Nowdoc. David was pronounced dead after efforts to rusticate him failed.
Dr. Katrina Dillon who carried out a post mortem on Mr. Orr said he had old and new bruises and abrasions on his arms and legs. There was no evidence of natural disease or illness. The amount of MDMA in his system was five times higher than the upper toxic level, the equivalent of 12 or 13 tablets. Traces of a derivative of cocaine were also found, she said.
The coroner expressed his sympathy to Mr. Orr’s wife and children and said the case highlighted the easy access to such drugs, the unknown make up of such back street substances and how taking such substances can have such fatal consequences.