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Saturday 3 December 2016

Teen found hanged in park after threats over €400 cannabis debt

Leaving Cert student Joseph Connaughton-Kavanagh (17) was found hanged in Markievicz Park on January 6 last year

Dublin Coroner's Court heard he had been receiving threatening texts over a €400 cannabis-related debt.
Dublin Coroner's Court heard he had been receiving threatening texts over a €400 cannabis-related debt.

A TEENAGER found hanged in a Dublin park had received text messages threatening him and his family over a drug debt, an inquest has heard.

Leaving Cert student Joseph Connaughton-Kavanagh (17) was found hanged in Markievicz Park, near his home at Cremona Road, Ballyfermot, on the morning of January 6 last year.

Dublin Coroner's Court heard he had been receiving threatening texts over a €400 cannabis-related debt.

He was last seen alive by his friend Jake Cullen, who told the inquest that on the night before he was found, Joseph was in Mr Cullen's house and smoked some cannabis.

He seemed "a bit quieter than usual", Mr Cullen said, "like he had something on his mind" but he also seemed "happy enough". Joseph left to go home between 12.30 and 1am.

His body was found hanging in the park at 8am. Paramedics at the scene said rigor mortis was present.

Garda Emer Lamon told the coroner she took possession of Joseph's phone at the scene.

"From this analysis it appears that he owed an individual money and was being threatened with violence," she said.

On December 30, 2013, Joseph received a message stating "I want that money today or I am going to smash your head in", Gda Lamon told the court.

Messages sent to the phone on January 3 and 4 were also threatening, the court was told, to both Joseph and his family.

Evidence

Joseph's father Derek gave evidence that two men called to his house on January 3 looking for his son.

He later told the coroner he had never seen the men before and their knock had been heavy and "threatening".

Gda Lamon said she believes the death was self-inflicted. She agreed with coroner Dr Brian Farrell that Joseph may have been responding to the threats.

The threats were made from two phone numbers - one was not registered and the other was registered to a false name and address.

Gda Lamon said she had met the two people believed to have sent the messages.

"They are not co-operating and we have no evidence," she said. If they are not willing to co-operate or give a statement, our hands are tied."

Dr Farrell adjourned the hearing to May 21.

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