Tuesday 25 October 2016

No prison for woman whose inmate fiance died from overdose

Danielle Hayes smuggled drugs into prison for her fiance
Danielle Hayes smuggled drugs into prison for her fiance

A woman who smuggled heroin and valium into prison for her fiance who later overdosed and died has avoided jail.

Danielle Hayes (27) was given a three-month suspended sentence at Blanchardstown District Court.

Hayes was engaged to ­Wheatfield inmate Kevin Byrne (23) when she passed a package of drugs to him during a visit.

When staff spotted them, Mr Byrne put it in his mouth.

He later choked on his own vomit and died in an observation room at the jail.

Hayes, with an address at Killinarden Estate, Tallaght, had admitted to unlawfully conveying drugs into Wheatfield Prison, Clondalkin, on December 23, 2014.

The case was heard on an earlier date and she was before Judge David McHugh for a pre-sentence probation report.

The court heard Byrne was found unresponsive and pronounced dead the day after the visit.

Garda Thomas Doyle had told the court that on the day in question, Hayes went to the prison to visit her fiance at 10.50am.

During that visit, at around 11.20am Hayes was seen passing a package to Mr Byrne.

He had the package in his hand when staff intervened and as they approached, he put it in his mouth, Garda Doyle said.

Mr Byrne was removed and asked to hand it over, but he denied that he had received any package.

He was taken to a special observation cell, while Hayes left the prison.

The following morning, December 24, Mr Byrne was found unresponsive in the cell by prison staff at 8.10am.

Medical assistance was summoned and he was later pronounced dead.

State Pathologist, Dr Marie Cassidy found that the cause of death was inhalation of gastric contents caused by taking heroin and diazepam.

Hayes later went to Ronanstown Garda Station and made a voluntary statement outlining her relationship with Mr Byrne.

She said she had handed him a package and had not seen the contents, but it was her belief that it contained drugs.

She said she handed it over to him and he swallowed it.

The court had heard that the deceased's family was still in contact with Hayes and were "very understanding of what occurred".

"This is a very serious charge, compounded by the fact that her actions caused the death of her fiance," Ms Jackson said previously. "She has to live with that every day of her life."


The court heard that Hayes had one previous conviction for a drugs offence.

The accused started using heroin at the age of 16 and had had a "chaotic lifestyle", Ms Jackson said.

She was no longer taking drugs and had completed a residential treatment programme.

Hayes was accompanied in court by her parents.

Judge McHugh said it was a very serious charge and noted that Hayes had suffered greatly in her personal life and had been in foster care.

"It brings into sharp focus what drugs can do," Judge McHugh said at a previous hearing. "They kill and that is what they did in this case."

He sentenced her to three months jail, suspended for 12 months on condition that she is of good behaviour and does not reoffend.

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