A coroner has warned that the dangers of illegal drugs are like playing “Russian Roulette” after hearing that a 21-year-old man died after swallowing what he thought was an M Cat ‘bomb’.
An inquest at Wakefield heard Shane Kirkbright, of Normanton near Wakefield, had unwittingly swallowed a drug called methylone, which has similar effects to ecstasy.
The previously fit and healthy dairy company worker suffered heart failure as a result of a combination of swallowing the methylone – which was wrapped in a cigarette paper – in conjunction with taking amphetamine.
Mr Kirkbright had been taking drugs at a flat above the One Stop Shop on Church Road at Altofts near Normanton in the early hours of Friday February 17 2012.
The inquest was told paramedics were alerted after he started sweating profusely and foaming at the mouth.
Mr Kirkbright was taken to Pinderfields Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8am that morning. Forensic pathologist Dr Richard Sheppard told the inquest that both drugs Mr Kirkbright had taken caused his heart to beat rapidly and abnormally.
The inquest was told one woman, who lived in the flat at the time, was snorting white powder from a table in the living room. The woman, along with two other men – who were also in the flat at the time Mr Kirbright was taken ill – were all arrested on suspicion of offering to supply a Class B drug. All denied the allegations.
The woman was given a police caution for possessing cocaine. No other charges were brought.
Recording a verdict of death from non dependent abuse of drugs, West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff, said: “The evidence we have is that drugs, or this particular drug, which they thought was M Cat which wasn’t, was freely available. We have heard that Shane took that in the form of a bomb where they wrap some in paper and swallow it whole.” Mr Hinchliff added: “The warning is very clear. People flout the law, but they really don’t know what they are taking. People acquire these substances and think it’s one thing when it’s something else. It was like playing Russian Roulette, it can happen to anybody, and people when they do this should be aware of it.”