Northern Ireland news

Man appears in court accused of killing friend who died of heroin overdose

A man has appeared at Banbridge Magistrates Court accused of manslaughter and drugs charges

A MAN was remanded into custody yesterday accused of killing his friend who died at a house in Co Down from a heroin overdose.

Appearing in the dock of Banbridge Magistrates Court, sitting in Newry, 32-year-old Mantas Cepas confirmed he understood the charges against him.

Cepas, from Cowan Street in Newry, is accused of the manslaughter of his friend Stephen Millington and three drug charges, all relating to heroin, alleging that he had the class A drug, possessed it with intent to supply and of supplying it to another on January 17 this year.

The charges arose after 51-year-old Mr Millington died of a suspected drug overdose at a flat on the Dublin Road in the city.

A detective constable said she believed she could connect Cepas to the charges.

She told the court that just before 2am on Wednesday police were called to the flat after a report of a suspected drug overdose and found Mr Millington unconscious on the bathroom floor.

She revealed that when the officers arrived, Cepas was found with a syringe in his hand while a woman claimed she saw him administer heroin into the arm of dead man with the syringe.

Arrested and interviewed, Cepas claimed the deceased gave him £40 to purchase drugs and he asked him to inject him.

He told police he asked Mr Millington if he was okay and he replied it was “good stuff” before he collapsed.

The accused said in an effort to revive him he threw water on his face and performed CPR while his phone was used to call police.

Under cross examination from defence barrister Kevin Magill, the officer agreed that he deceased “was first in the queue” to try the drug and he tried to inject himself but couldn't so had asked the defendant to inject him.

The lawyer said these were friends who took drugs together and the deceased had paid for the drugs while Cepas acted as a courier.

“There was a drinking binge for a couple of days and this was the culmination of it,” said the barrister adding that Cepas was “very upset” at the loss of his friend.

Deputy District Judge Anne Marshall refused bail however as she was concerned about the risk of re-offending and that he may fail to turn up because he had been the subject of two previous arrest warrants

Cepas was remanded in custody to appear via videolink on February 14.

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