Coroner’s report makes for sad reading
‘‘Maurice's life history makes for very sad reading.’’
He started taking magic mushrooms at seven, abusing inhalants from age 12 and started using synthetic cannabis at age 15.
On May 24, 2016, Maurice Junior Papariu Murtagh was found laying face down in the rear carpark of Rotorua’s Sudima Hotel - aged just 20.
Just eight days later on June 3, he was dead.
The cause of death ruled as severe hypoxic brain injury secondary to a prolonged cardiac arrest caused by drug and aerosol consumption.
Details of his death and life leading up to it were laid bare by Coroner Michael Robb as he released his report into Murtagh’s death.
In his own words ‘‘Maurice’s life history makes for very sad reading’’.
Murtagh was removed from his mother’s care at two and reportedly suffering from domestic violence and other abuse.
Robb said Murtagh was well known to the police and despite being just 20 years old, had been the subject of 24 arrests, ‘‘the majority of which related to him being intoxicated by virtue of consumption of alcohol and/or drugs and aerosols’’.
Murtagh was known to com- munity mental health and was awaiting admission for alcohol detoxification before admission into a rehabilitation programme.
‘‘A hospital bed had only become available for his detoxification on the day after he was found unconscious in the Sudima Hotel car park.’’
Robb made a number of recommendations in his final report, noting his frequent interactions with police offered an opportunity for him to be ‘‘red flagged’’ for assistance.
‘‘A process of identifying and referring him to other agencies would be of benefit,’’ Robb said.
‘‘Red flagging his consistent uncontrolled intoxication and bringing him to the attention of those agencies who are able to conduct a drug and alcohol assessment with him would be of benefit.’’
He also said the process of requiring a doctor to apply for allocation of a medial detoxification bed presented difficulties and delays.
‘‘The delay in having both medical detoxification and residential rehabilitation beds available is very troubling
‘‘. . . which can ultimately have a fatal consequence.’’
Maurice Murtagh was found unconscious laying next to two aerosol cans of deodorant. Coroner Michael Robb