Northern Ireland news

Man jailed for supplying potent painkiller to friend who died of drugs overdose

Timothy Gerard Ryan McIlroy was jailed for supplying the powerful painkiller Fentanyl to a friend who subsequently died of a drugs overdose

A 34-year-old man who supplied a powerful painkiller to a friend who subsequently died of a drugs overdose is starting an 18-month jail sentence.

Timothy Gerard Ryan McIlroy, from Iris Street in west Belfast, supplied patches of the opiate Fentanyl over a six-month period in 2013.

Belfast Crown Court heard that a 25-year-old man - who was addicted to painkilling medication - died of a drugs overdose in October that year and that one of a range of substances in his system was McIlroy's Fentanyl.

During sentencing yesterday, Judge McCaffrey said that while she accepted McIlroy has displayed remorse for his friend's death, she also spoke of the impact his passing has had on his family.

The victim had completed a Masters degree in science and just started a new job, with his death leaving his family "utterly heartbroken".

A victim impact statement said "there is a not a day goes past when we do not grieve his loss".

The court heard that McIlroy - who has a history of cocaine misuse - was initially prescribed Fentanyl patches for back pain.

However, he supplied his prescription to his friend and colleague, who smoked it rather than use the patches.

The potent drug is used to treat chronic pain and was established as the cause of death last year of singer Prince following an accidental overdose.

Judge McCaffrey said McIlroy's plea to both being concerned in the supply of Fentanyl between April and September 2013, and of supplying the Class A substance in October 2013, indicated he acknowledged his involvement.

The judge also pointed out that prior to the fatal overdose, McIlroy was aware of his friend's addiction to pain relief medication.

She said that while she accepted he had stopped using cocaine for three years, he has since relapsed and started misusing the drug again.

She also said that during his period of offending McIlroy was trading his legally held and prescribed Fentanyl "to get money for cocaine".

He was handed a three-year sentence, 18 months of which will be spent in prison followed by 18 months on supervised licence.

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