Addict’s death ‘a tragic case’
Unconscious, face down and lying in the rear carpark of Rotorua’s Sudima Hotel.
That was how a passerby found Maurice Junior Papariu Murtagh, 20, on May 24 last year.
Just eight days later on June 3, he was dead.
Details of the short life, and early passing, of Murtagh were outlined at the Coroner’s inquest into his death at the Rotorua District Court on Monday.
Constable William Eagle was first to give evidence, telling the court how Murtagh was found by a passing cyclist lying ‘‘face down and not moving’’.
He said another man attempted to give Murtagh CPR in the ten minutes it took for an ambulance to arrive.
He was taken to Rotorua Hospital were he was found to be suffering from unsurvivable brain injury caused by cardiac arrest. He was then taken to his mothers home and cared for by Hospice staff until his death on June 3.
Eagle said Murtagh was ‘‘known to the police and it was common knowledge he huffed’’.
He said he was found with two aerosol cans of deodorant, an ornamental sword and a cigarette lighter.
‘‘No other persons are involved,’’ Eagle said.
Sergeant Tere Rai also gave evidence, noting Murtagh had been arrested 24 times in total on a number of charges ranging from disorderly behaviour, failure to appear in court, bail breaches, shoplifting and dishonesty offences.
On almost every occasion Murtagh was described as intoxicated.
He said on one arrest on June 6, 2015, Murtagh told police staff ‘‘he would like a gun to shoot himself’’.
Coroner Michael Robb asked Rai whether the pattern of arrests and intoxication was unusual.
‘‘The frequency with which Mr Murtagh came to our attention isn’t that common,’’ he said.
Further evidence was given by Lakes DHB clinical director of mental health Dr Darren Malone and Te Utuhina Manaakitanga clinical psychologist Dr Rebecca Wirihana.
Both described dealing with a young man in the grip of strong addictions, and whose mental health also fluctuated. Malone described the death as a ‘‘tragic case’’.
Robb said he would issue draft findings at the end of this week.