Illegal drug use factor in young father’s death

Sam McGibney with his brother Jake
Sam McGibney with his brother Jake
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  • Father-of-one died of natural causes after having a genetic heart problem
  • But this was exacerbated by ‘chronic’ use of Class A drugs
  • Now his mother has warned of the dangers of drug use
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The mother of a 21-year-old man who died after using drugs has warned other youngsters about the dangers of substance abuse.

Father-of-one Sam McGibney died in January from natural causes which were contributed to by a chronic use of Class-A drugs, an inquest was told.

A consultant pathologist also gave evidence that the labourer may have suffered from a genetic predisposition to problems with his heart after learning that his mother suffered from a similar, but not fatal, heart problem when she was 26.

A toxicology report showed there was no trace of any illegal drugs in his system at the time of his death.

Mr McGibney was with his fiancee Laurann Devine on January 8 when he complained of unbearable chest pains and went immediately to the walk-in centre in Whitegate Drive, Blackpool.

An ambulance was called but he collapsed, and died later that evening in Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Mr McGibney, of Barton Avenue, Blackpool, and Miss Devine had become parents to their daughter Lexiann only three months before his tragic death.

Consultant pathologist Dr Mark Sissons, said: “Mr McGibney died from a ruptured aorta, a dissecting aortic aneurysm.

“One of his coronary arteries was 50 per cent narrower than a normal man of his age – his heart was severely scarred for someone of his age.

“The use of MDMA (ecstasy) and cocaine can cause chronic damage to the coronary arteries.

“Prolonged use over weeks or months can cause serious damage to the heart.

“In this case, Mr McGibney has two risk factors, one of which is a potential genetic predisposition to a problem with his aorta and the other is his use of illegal drugs.”

The court heard that Mr McGibney had told his fiancee that he had taken ‘a line’ of cocaine on New Year’s 
Eve, eight days before his death.

Ms Devine told the hearing: “As far as I’m concerned Sam hadn’t taken it before.

“In the weeks before his death he complained of blacking out – his vision kept going and he couldn’t see.

“He went to A and E and was given medication for migraine.

“I knew Sam had smoked cannabis since a young age, but he had a social life aside from me and the baby.”

Det Insp Mulla Lukmaan, who led an investigation into Mr McGibney’s death, said: “As part of our inquiry we learned that Sam was 
arrested and cautioned twice in 2010 and once in 2011, for possession of MDMA.

“Society has changed and the use of recreational drugs is more common.

“MDMA is a social drug rather than habitual drug.”

Sam’s mother Selina McGibney, 42, said: “He was a loveable rogue but he was our loveable rogue.

“This goes to show that even the use of social drugs can lead to the loss of lives.

“He was a loving son, grandson, brother, father and fiance.”

Recording a death of natural causes, coroner Alan Wilson said: “I don’t dispute what Miss Devine has told the court that she didn’t 
believe Mr McGibney had taken cocaine apart from when he told her he had on New Year’s Eve.

“But I am satisfied that he had a history of taking 
cocaine or similar drugs such as ecstasy at some point and on a regular basis.

“I conclude that Sam McGibney died from natural causes which were contributed to by a chronic use of Class-A drugs.”