Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Newry heroin death accused refused bail

A Lithuanian man charged with the manslaughter of his friend, who died from a heroin overdose, has been denied bail.

Thirty-Two year old Mantas Cepas is alleged to have administered a lethal dose of heroin to 51 year old Stephen Millington during a two-day drinking binge in Newry last month. 

The High Court heard last week that Cepas injected his friend after Mr Millington failed to find a vein.  The Lithuanian national with an address at Cowan Street in the city, is charged with manslaughter, along with possessing and supplying Class A drugs, after Mr Millington, who is originally from South Africa, died of the suspected overdose at his Dublin Road flat on January 17.

Police who attended the scene found the victim unconscious on the bathroom floor, and he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Prosecution counsel David McClean told the court that Cepas was holding a syringe when officers arrived and was initially reluctant to hand it over.  The men’s partners told police at the scene that Mr Millington had given Cepas £40 to buy drugs.  

The court heard that the defendant returned with heroin powder which he prepared in solution form, mixing it with water on a spoon, before agreeing to inject it for Mr Millington, who it is claimed, had not injected heroin before.

Cepas admitted during police interviews that he had purchased the drugs and agreed to inject his friend. 

Mr McClean added that the accused had asked the deceased if he was okay, to which he replied that it was “good stuff”, before collapsing. 

Cepas tried to perform emergency CPR on Mr Millington before phoning for an ambulance, the court was told.

Defence barrister Kevin Magill said his client had provided a full and frank account of what happened and that Mr Millington was “first in the queue” for the heroin before others in the flat took their turn.

“He tried to self-administer, only when he couldn’t find a vein he asked the defendant to administer on his behalf,” Mr Magill argued, adding that his client has been left deeply upset over the death of his friend. 

Refusing bail, Mr Justice Burgess said there was a “grave concern on the part of the court that this applicant may well decide to leave the jurisdiction.”