Drug addict James Drummond thought dying Gravesend teenager Ed Barry was drunk, inquest told
by Thom Morris
A self-confessed junkie who looked
after tragic teenager Edward Barry in the hours before he died
thought he was just drunk.
James Drummond, 29 at the
time, said he did not bother calling an ambulance because he
thought the 14-year-old (pictured right) - known to his
friends as Ed - would sleep it off, an inquest has heard.
Mr Drummond said he had kicked heroin
four years before Ed's death, but was on prescription
Speaking at the inquest into Ed
Barry's death, he was asked by Chris Sutton-Mattocks, counsel for
the coroner, whether he had a problem with drugs, to which he
Mr Drummond had been smoking since he
was 12, started heroin when he was 17 and was a self-confessed
methadone and valium addict.
Previously living in America, where Mr
Drummond had seen another of his friends die from drugs, he
returned to the UK and started drinking and taking methadone.
The drug, used to wean people off
heroin, was prescribed to him by KCA, which deals with drug and
Mr Drummond first met Ed in Lord
Street car park, Gravesend, a popular spot for skaters.
He invited him back to his Parrock
Street flat one day and they smoked weed, watched television and
played computer games.
"He was passed out outside my flat. I dragged him in and put him in the recovery position and put a pillow under his head and covered him in a blanket..." – James Drummond
He said: "Sometimes he'd stay;
sometimes he'd come and smoke a joint for an hour."
By November, Ed had effectively moved
in and was sleeping on a beanbag.
Mr Drummond added: "The first time he
just ended up crashing there, but after that he said he was having
problems at home and couldn't live there so I said he could stay at
my flat for a period of time.
"I'd like to state that I never asked
him for any money, I was just trying to help."
The night before his death, Mr
Drummond said Ed was devastated about the break up with his
girlfriend and was crying and punching the walls.
The next day the pair left the
Mr Drummond left to visit
his mother and grandmother while Ed, who did not have a key to
get back into the flat, headed to a skate park in
Returning at about 10pm, Mr Drummond
found Ed had made it through the communal front door and was
slumped by his door inside.
He added: "He was passed out outside
my flat. I dragged him in and put him in the recovery position and
put a pillow under his head and covered him in a blanket."
Mr Drummond, who said he had never seen
Ed so intoxicated, then drank until 2am and checked Ed roughly
every 45 minutes.
"I said 'you alright?' and he
said 'yeah' but he couldn't really talk properly. He didn't move
throughout the night and he wasn't moving around a lot.
"I believed he was under the influence
of alcohol, but not hard drugs.
"He'd had too much to drink and would
sleep it off.
"If I saw signs of him using hard
drugs I would have called an ambulance."
At about noon the next day, Ed
remained in the same position and when Mr Drummond checked on him,
he was cold to the touch. He called 999.
"I was pretty sure he was deceased and
I told the person on the phone that, ‘I'm pretty sure he's
A bottle of half-empty methadone was
found on the kitchen counter about six feet from where Ed was found
A post mortem revealed Ed died from a
Mr Drummond insisted he never gave Ed
the drug and if he had taken it, he would have taken it during
the night without his consent.
The jury inquest at Gravesend's Old Town Hall continues.
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