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Tuesday 19 September 2017

Destitute friend of tragic Jonathan lay dead in park for hours

Flowers and cards pictured in the door way where Jonathan Corrie died on Dublins Molesworth Street
Flowers and cards pictured in the door way where Jonathan Corrie died on Dublins Molesworth Street

A man who was a close pal of tragic homeless man Jonathan Corrie lay dead in St Stephen's Green for hours before he was found, an inquest has heard.

Derek Buchan (39), originally from Drogheda, Co Louth, used homeless hostels in the city, Dublin Coroner's Court was told.

He was discovered lying face down in foliage at the Leeson Street end of St Stephen's Green on January 30 last year.

It was beginning to get dark as park constable David Morgan and his three colleagues were locking up at 4.20pm, the court heard.

"I was locking the two small gates at the Leeson Street end of the park when I saw a person lying in the bushes. I saw the figure of a man lying face down," said Mr Morgan.

He saw drug paraphernalia and attempted to rouse the man before calling emergency services, he said.

"It was an area where people used to go in to sleep and use drugs," Mr Morgan added.

All four park constables lock the park in the evenings, checking bushes and shrubbery for people.

Mr Morgan said the bushes where Mr Buchan was found had since been cut down.

Mr Buchan's sister Mary McCabe said he was a "free spirit" whom she hoped was now at peace.

Heroin

His possessions included rosary beads, a scapular and a mobile phone.

"He was a free spirit, he wouldn't settle anywhere, he was always wandering around," Ms McCabe told the court.

"He used to come to me every Christmas but we didn't see him that year."

Gardai and Dublin Fire Brigade attended the scene and Mr Buchan was pronounced dead at 5.45pm.

The doctor who pronounced his death noted that he had been dead for a number of hours before he was found.

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as a drug overdose, with evidence of heroin and the sleep medication zopiclone found in his system.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

Mr Buchan was a friend of Mr Corrie, a homeless man who died after consuming a fatal mix of drugs and alcohol near Leinster House in December 2014.

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