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Man jailed for administering lethal heroin dose to friend

July 9, 2018

A 33-year-old Lithuanian man who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his friend in a heroin overdose earlier this year has received a two year jail sentence.  Fifty one year old Stephen Millington died in his flat on the Dublin Road in Newry on January 17 after he was injected with the Class A drug.  

Newry Court, sitting in Belfast heard that Mr Millington, a known drug and alcohol user, had given his friend, Mantas Cepas,  £40 to buy heroin – which he had previously smoked but never injected.

Cepas admitted both supplying the Class A Drug, and the manslaughter of his friend. Prosecuting barrister, Geraldine McCullough, told the court that Mr Millington and Cepas had drank “two to three litre bottles of vodka” with their girlfriends at the deceased’s flat from the previous day and, following a conversation about drugs, Mr Millington gave Cepas £40 for a bag of heroin.  When Cepas returned and administered the drug into Mr Millington’s arm, the deceased eyes rolled back and he slumped over.  

An ambulance was called after attempts to revive him failed but he was pronounced dead at 3.20am.

The prosecution lawyer said toxicology reports showed the level of alcohol in Mr Millington’s system would have produced “extreme drunkeness” and they also indicated heroin use prior to death. The court also heard that Mr Millington’s death was a result of the intoxicating effects of the alcohol, heroin and a benzodiazepine which were found in his system.

Cepas admitted during police interviews that he had purchased the drugs, and he told police  he had thrown water on the deceased’s face and performed CPR on him. He said that he didn’t think the amount of heroin – between three to five millilitres -was too much, and that his friend’s death had left him “in shock” and he was sorry.

Defence barrister Greg Berry QC said the remorse expressed by Cepas was genuine.

During sentencing on Monday last, Judge Melody McReynolds said the unpredictability of heroin made it “a very dangerous drug.”

The judge ordered that Cepas would spend two years in prison, following by two years on licence and added the condition that, while on licence, he should take up a place on programmes designed to tackle drug addiction.

Police have welcomed the sentence, with PSNI Detective Superintendent, Rachel Shields, branding drugs “a scourge on society”. 

“Those who supply and sell them are quite often selling a death sentence,” she added. “In this case, Mantas Cepas both supplied and administered the lethal drug that cost Stephen Millington his life and he will rightly serve time behind bars for his crime.” She said that she hoped the sentence would “bring some small measure of comfort to the Millington family.”

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