Amsterdam trip turned to tragedy

A holiday to Amsterdam turned to tragedy when an apprentice plasterer from Burnley died after taking an unknown drug from a supplier in the city.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Joel McDevitt (22) from Lydgate, Briercliffe, died in the Dutch capital on October 26th, 2014, after ingesting what local police believe was pure heroin.

An inquest at Burnley Coroner’s Court heard how Mr McDevitt had travelled to Amsterdam two days before with three friends.

The group had taken an early train to the city centre and went to a number of bars. Later that day, two of the group, including Joel, were approached by a man who sold them what they believed to be cocaine but what Dutch authorities believe was pure heroin, thought to be in circulation at that time.

Shortly after taking the substance, at 1-37am, Joel and the other man collapsed near the Reguilersgracht Canal and were taken to hospital, but Joel checked himself out.

The Amsterdam Public Prosecutors Office told East Lancashire Coroner Mr Richard Taylor that Joel was later found by police collapsed in a nearby park. He refused to go back to hospital and was taken to a local police station where officers checked his condition every half hour.

Checks were then made every 15 minutes after health advice, but Joel was later found to be unresponsive and sadly died.

Recording a conclusion of drug-related death Mr Taylor said: “It appears that Joel McDevitt had ingested an opiate of which the strength was unknown.”

The man who supplied the group with drugs received a prison sentence in the Netherlands after pleading guilty to supply.