Lisburn man died in Cambodian hostel due to ‘morphine tablets'

The Happy House is a popular guesthouse offering dorm beds to backpackers for as little as £2.50 per night. Picture from Cambodian National Police
John Monaghan

A CO Antrim man found dead in the room at a hostel in Cambodia after taking morphine tablets had been due to return home from travelling on Tuesday.

Martin Hale (34), from Lisburn, was found dead in a room at the Happy House Guesthouse in the capital Phnom Penh on Friday.

His mother Teresa Temple said on Tuesday night that he had suffered a heart attack after taking drugs.

She told the BBC: "I know that it was morphine tablets that he had taken and they caused a heart attack.

"Martin did take drugs, yes. I tried to warn him all the time about getting away from drugs."

Ms Temple praised the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, which she said had been "absolutely brilliant" in making arrangements for the return of her son's body.

She said: "They have done everything they can for us. Martin had no insurance or anything.

"I was helping fund his holiday. He was always ringing me and looking money sent over. They (he and his friend Dean) were due home today," she told Radio Ulster.

Ms Temple added: "He was a very good son and very well-liked. Martin rang me every day."

A second man, Dean William McWilliams (22), from Antrim town, a friend of Mr Hale, was also found in the room.

He was taken to hospital but later discharged himself and went missing, sparking a social media appeal before he was later found safe.

In 2013 Mr Hale appeared in court along with two other men charged with conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.

He was also accused of having criminal property.

It followed a seizure by police of £400,000 of suspected herbal cannabis being brought into Northern Ireland on a lorry from Scotland.

David Simpson, the DUP MP for Upper Bann, said he was assisting with arrangements to have to body returned to Northern Ireland and had been in touch with the Foreign Office.

"The sudden death of someone so young is obviously a very traumatic and shocking time, but the added complications of it happening so far away from home make it even more difficult for any family," he said.

"I would like to offer my condolences to Mr Hale’s friends and wider family circle and will continue to offer whatever support I can in the future.”

The Happy House is a popular guesthouse offering dorm beds to backpackers for as little as £2.50 per night.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: "We are providing support to the family of a British man following his death in Phnom Penh in Cambodia on Friday, July 1. Our sympathies are with them at this difficult time.

"We are also providing support to the family of another British man who was hospitalised with the deceased."

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