Heroin victim tried to avoid the dealers

A HEROIN overdose victim had desperately sought to avoid drug dealers on the streets of Ballymena before his death last year, an inquest has heard.

Monday, 15th March 2010, 11:40 am
Updated Monday, 15th March 2010, 1:15 pm

Raymond Trevor Davidson, was found lying face-down in his flat in Carnlough on June 17 surrounded by drug paraphernelia. A coroner found yesterday, that the 32-year had died from an overdose of a morphine, a component of heroin.

The victim's mother, told the coroner's court that Raymond had been making good progress with a drug replacement programme, and had been a regular church-goer in Carnlough, where he had moved to a year before his death.

Heather Davidson said she first suspected that her son had been taking heroin in 2001.

"He tried his best to get off heroin," she told the court.

"Raymond was on a methadone programme and he was doing very well, the programme was nearly finished, and then he relapsed."

Mrs Davidson who was told of her son's death while on holiday, said she noticed that he had been acting differently, when she last saw him alive.

"He was agitated and paranoid. You knew with Raymond - his attitude - he couldn't sit at peace."

Mr Davidson's step-mother, who is also called Heather, said she had been forced to act as a chaperone, as "he didn't want to meet the people who sold him the drugs".

"If these people had left him alone, then he would be here today," she said.

"He had even warned my two boys against drugs and not to be dabbling and going down the road he did."

She claimed the dealers had offered her step-son free drugs to "get him hooked again".

Coroner Richard Sherrard was told that Mr Davidson had previously attempted to take his own life, but had not been suicidal at the time of his death.

"He was in quite good form, but he was able to hide things. He was talking about his plans to go away with the flute band. That [suicide] would have been against everything he believed in," his mother said.

A police officer, told the court that a needle was found below the body of Mr Davidson, who was lying face down on the floor beside the sofa. A number of other items including a swab and a belt were also found in the victim's living room.

Constable Andrew McIlwaine said he had noticed a new passport and tickets for a concert in Belfast on the mantle-piece in Mr Davidson's home.

He said there was no evidence to suggest that a crime had been committed.

In a report, Deputy State Pathologist , Dr Alistair Bentley said it was likely an overdose of heroin had been the cause of death, pointing to the high levels of morphine, found in the victim's blood and traces of the drugs found in the needle, recovered from the scene.

A post mortem revealed that a number of other drugs - codeine, mirtazapine and diazepam were also found in his system.

The inquest was adjourned, to allow for arrangements to be made of the man who discovered the body to give his evidence - the witness is currently in custody, the court heard.

Concluding the first day of the hearing, coroner Richard Sherrard said it was important to highlight the risks posed by someone returning to a level of drugs they had previously been used to.