Young man was looking forward to being home at Christmas
THE family of a young man who died after going to a friend’s house for drinks have described how he told them he “couldn’t wait” to see them all at Christmas shortly before he passed away.
Zac Taylor, from Porthcawl, was just 28 when he died, having moved from Wales to Australia with his girlfriend and made it their new home. Zac had also set up his own carpentry business. But an inquest into his death heard he died after being found unconscious having gone to a friend’s house for drinks.
In a eulogy given at his funeral, his younger brother, Shay, said: “As far back as I can remember, Zac was always someone I looked up to.
“Throughout my life I have always been referred to and introduced to many as Zac’s little brother. This is something I always take great pride in, and just to be mentioned in the same breath as someone so funny, caring, charismatic, loving, generous and gifted is an honour and a privilege.
“Growing up together, Zac was always the more naturally talented brother, things just came so much easier to him than they did to me: sport, music, confidence, girls, even his care free attitude, literally everything. I envied him so much for this; to me he was just cool.
“His unique phases and expressions will stay with me forever and will be something I carry forward throughout my life. It was overwhelming to see his transition from the boy that had left South Wales into the man that he had become in Australia. I will always be proud of my brother Zac. Truly one of a kind.”
During his inquest at Pontypridd Coroners Court, the court heard how Zac – a former West Park Primary School and Porthcawl Comprehensive pupil – had spent the evening with friends the day before he died.
On October 22, 2017, an Australian police officer attended an address in Warriewood, north of Sydney, after a report of an unconscious male.
Zac and his girlfriend, Danielle, had gone to friend Geraint Evans’ house for drinks before things went tragically wrong. At around 6.30pm, the pair arrived and started to consume “large amounts of alcohol”, the inquest heard. Zac also bought “party drugs” and crushed them into a powder before snorting them, the court heard.
Geraint woke up around 5am to play with his daughter. At 7am, he heard Danielle call his name in a “distressed way”.
Zac was found lying on his back on a mattress not breathing.
The emergency services were called and Geraint started trying to resuscitate his friend. But Zac sadly passed away.
His cause of death was given as combined multidrug (oxycodone, benzodiazepines) and alcohol toxicity.
Oxycodone is a pain reliever, and benzodiazepines are sedatives, more commonly used for sleeping problems and anxiety.
Coroner Graham Hughes recorded a conclusion of a alcohol/drug related death.
Zac’s mother, Jane, paid tribute to her son, saying: “Zac was an amazing person that would go above and beyond to help people family, friends and strangers.
“One time before he left Wales to go back to Oz I took him to buy thermal clothing and food for him to take to the homeless.
“He genuinely had a heart of gold and he made people feel happy with his smile.
“We and all his family and friends are devastated to lose him.
“He is and always will be a most wonderful son and brother.
“The support shown through his JustGiving page that was set up by his close neighbour when he passed away shows clearly how loved he was.”
She described how Zac and his girlfriend decided to travel to Australia on a one-year visa and spent months travelling to places like Ayres Rock, the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands.
They worked on a fruitpicking farm and Zac then worked as a roofer before they decided they wanted to stay in Australia.
She added: “I spoke to Zac nearly every day for the seven years he was away from home and we had a very open and honest relationship.
“Although Zac had a wild, mischievous side and did continue to party a lot of weekends, as most young people do, he also would also go through spells of not drinking, healthy eating and visiting the gym.
“The night/morning that Zac passed away I had spoken to Zac on FaceTime not long after he arrived at his friend’s – he was happy, we laughed and joked and he told me he couldn’t wait to see us all at Christmas.
“He had booked his flights to come home for his birthday and Christmas”
Zac Taylor with his mum Jane