herald

Friday 15 December 2017

Celebrity chef's tragic son had cocaine in his system

THE teenage son of celebrity restaurateurs Derry and Sallyanne Clarke had cocaine and sedatives in his system when he was admitted to hospital, an inquest heard today.

Andrew Clarke (16), of Forest Hill, Meegan's Lane, Crooksling, Co Dublin, died on New Year's Eve, 2012.

His mother discovered him unconscious in the garage of their home two days after Christmas on December 27. His father had been cooking breakfast for the family at the time.

Emergency services were called, but Andrew died in hospital three days later.

resuscitation

The teenager would have died at the scene only for the prompt actions of the family, said the coroner. The family began chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as soon as he was discovered.

The inquest heard that paramedics managed to find a heartbeat on the way into hospital, but on admission he had a coma scale of three out of 15 - the lowest rate of consciousness compatible with life. Death was due to hypoxic brain damage.

Speaking through their solicitor, the Clarke family said they had been shocked to hear that there were drugs, including cocaine and sedatives in Andrew's system.

His sister, Sarah, said they had seen no change in his mood.

When coroner Brian Farrell put it to the family's legal representatives that Andrew had never expressed any thoughts of self-harm and that this had happened "out of the blue", family solicitor Paul McGarry replied: "I don't think there was any indication that anything like this could happen."

The coroner returned an open verdict, saying that taking the toxicology report into account with other evidence that there had been no indication of depression or any behavioural evidence, it raised a doubt as to whether Andrew had intended to take his own life.

solace

There were no suspicious circumstances, and the death was self-inflicted.

However, the urine tested positive for opiates, benzodiazepine and cocaine, and on that basis he was returning an open verdict.

The Clarke family said they had gained particular solace from organisations like Console and TeenLine.

hnews@herald.ie

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