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Inquest hears builder died after night of drink and drugs

24 November, 2017 — By Emily Finch

St Pancras Coroner’s Court

A BUILDER had 16 times more MDMA in his blood than an average recreational drug user when he died, an inquest heard yesterday (Thursday).

Raymond Quaid, 27, died after having a fit at a friend’s flat in Nightingale Road, Canonbury following a night of taking MDMA and cocaine with colleagues at venues in south London.

A colleague and friend who worked with Mr Quaid told the inquest that they had both started drinking at 2pm at a pub in Elephant and Castle after finishing work on July 1. The colleague describ­ed how he and Mr Quaid both took cocaine at the pub and later MDMA, also known as ecstasy, at a nearby nightclub. MDMA, a recreational drug usually taken in pill or powder form, is popular with clubbers.

Mr Quaid, described as a “joker, good and always happy” by his colleague, had moved to London from County Limerick in Ireland and was living in a hostel at the time of his death. The colleague told the court how he and Mr Quaid both returned to his Canonbury flat at around 3am by taxi and were planning on going out again to a friend’s birthday celebrations.

He said: “I just crashed out and fell asleep. I woke up between 6am and 7am. He was next to me. He was having a fit. He was all tensed and I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. I put him in the recovery position.” The inquest heard how the colleague ran outside for help and then called for an ambulance while giving his friend CPR.

According to paramedic Kate Proctor whose evidence was read out at the inquest, she arrived at the flat to find an unresponsive Mr Quaid. Ms Proctor said they pronounced him dead after attempting advanced resuscitation for more than half an hour.

According to pathologist Dr Liina Palm, he had 5.9 micrograms per millilitre of MDMA in his bloodstream. The average amount for recreational use is usually around 0.01 to 0.35 micrograms. She said: “MDMA can cause death because of dehydration. If a person doesn’t drink enough it affects the electrolyte balance and can make the brain swollen.” Chief coroner Mary Hassell gave the cause of Mr Quaid’s death as “MDMA toxicity”, adding: “The death was drug related.”

She said: “He did use drugs recreationally. He was in the building trade, which is absolutely notorious for drug use. The quantity that he took was too great for him.” A fundraising page to pay for Mr Quaid’s funeral costs and support his family raised just under £4,000 within a few days.

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