What a Sad Waste, of a young Woman’s life, by Drug Supplier, Burke?

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‘RUINED LIVES’ | 

Dublin man who supplied drugs to girlfriend who then died from overdose avoids jail

Burke and Ms Smith met on the Bumble app and had been dating for about four to six weeks prior to her death.

Glen Burke of Ridgewood park Swords Co Dublin pictured leaving Dublin circuit court after receiving a two year suspended sentence.
Pic Collins Courts
Glen Burke of Ridgewood park Swords Co Dublin pictured leaving Dublin circuit court after receiving a two year suspended sentence. Pic Collins Courts
Glen Burke of Ridgewood park Swords Co Dublin pictured leaving Dublin circuit court after receiving a two year suspended sentence.
Pic Collins Courts
Glen Burke of Ridgewood park Swords Co Dublin pictured leaving Dublin circuit court after receiving a two year suspended sentence. Pic Collins Courts

Sunday World

15th December 2022

A young woman died of a brain bleed after consuming drugs supplied by a man she was dating, in a case that was “the textbook definition” of a tragedy, a court has heard.

26-year-old Ailbhe Smith died in hospital on October 1, 2020, a day after taking two lines of cocaine and some MDMA pills, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today. A post-mortem determined that Ms Smith died of a cerebral bleed caused by MDMA toxicity and cocaine use.

IT technician Glen Burke (28) of Ridgewood Square, Swords, Co Dublin, pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of MDMA and cocaine valued at less than €100 at his home on the night of September 30, 2020.

The court heard that some time after doing the drugs together Ms Smith began dripping with sweat and Burke got her to drink “loads of water”. He told gardai she seemed to be ok for a while but an hour later she went limp and was convulsing and Burke rang 999.

Ailbhe Smith. Picture: RIP.ie
Ailbhe Smith. Picture: RIP.ie

He later told gardai that he loved Ms Smith, who he had met online six weeks previously, and that they planned to travel the world together. He said it was his fault and “not her fault at all” and that it was “my stupidity”.

Judge Pauline Codd imposed a fully-suspended sentence of two years and told Ms Smith’s family the sentence was “in no way a mark of the loss sustained by the family, or a measure of their lovely daughter’s life”.

She said it was “a measure of the culpability of the accused” and she extended her condolences to Ms Smith’s family.

“Nothing can bring your daughter back,” said Judge Codd, acknowledging the Smith family’s “huge loss” and paying tribute to her father’s “articulate, insightful and very moving” victim impact statement.

Judge Codd said if any case could highlight the impact and danger of drug use, it was this case. “I hope that, in some way, it can act as a warning to other people in respect of drug-taking,” she said.

Glen Burke of Ridgewood park Swords Co Dublin pictured leaving Dublin circuit court after receiving a two year suspended sentence.
Pic Collins Courts
Glen Burke of Ridgewood park Swords Co Dublin pictured leaving Dublin circuit court after receiving a two year suspended sentence. Pic Collins Courts

Reading aloud from his victim impact statement, Michael Smith described how on that “bitter and life-determining day,” his daughter Ailbhe and all her loved ones had lost “each and every hope and dream”.

“Ailbhe was the heart of us all; life, love and laughter; the glue that held us together; always a smile and a cheeky grin. She was brave, fun-loving, and so strong,” said Mr Smith.

He said how his daughter was “on the threshold of the life she had been striving for” and how proud her family were of her achievements and her work with people who did not have a voice, with people with disabilities and the marginalised.

Oisín Clarke BL, defending, said the case was “the textbook definition of a tragic event” and has “ruined a number of lives”. He said Burke had enormous guilt and was absolutely devastated by the suffering he has caused to Ms Smith’s family.

“He has put himself in a psychological prison for the remainder of his days,” said Mr Clarke.

Garda Brian Morrissey told Fionnuala O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that Ms Smith took a taxi to Burke’s house, arriving at around midnight on September 30. Burke told gardaí that he had already been drinking and that they continued to drink until around 2 am, with Ms Smith drinking half a bottle of whiskey.

“We took Green Monster pills. It was my stupidity; I got them for her. She never tried them before,” Burke said in his statement to gardaí.

“We also had two lines of cocaine each. We were totally fine. At 7am the poor girl started dripping with sweat everywhere. I knew she wasn’t okay; I got her to drink loads of water. She seemed to be OK for a while until an hour later, she got up to go to the toilet, and as I grabbed her, she went completely limp,” Burke said.

Burke said Ms Smith was convulsing, and he rang 999, and the ambulance arrived ten minutes later.

Gda Morrissey agreed with counsel for the defence that there was no element of coercion and that both parties had voluntarily decided to do what they did. Mr Clarke described his client as an intelligent, well-liked and respected man who was also a rescue diver with CPR qualifications.

Judge Codd said that usually, in cases of supplying drugs, the impact was far more remote, but that in this case, it was quite immediate in that Burke supplied the drugs to Ms Smith, she ingested them and died. The judge said this case shows how something of small value can have an enormous impact and set a headline sentence of four years on each count.

She gave Burke credit for coming forward on signed pleas at the District Court, his genuine remorse, his good record, and the testimonials and letters submitted on his behalf.

Judge Codd said some people might think drug-taking can be a “harmless social activity, but this case highlights the dangerous and tragic consequences of it”.

The court heard that Burke called emergency services to attend to Ms Smith, attended the garda station voluntarily and made no effect to deflect blame. Burke has eight previous minor convictions, all for road traffic offences.

Burke and Ms Smith met on the Bumble app and had been dating for about four to six weeks prior to her death.

Mr Clarke read a further extract from Burke’s memo to gardaí, in which he expressed genuine remorse and grief and spoke of Ms Smith “in glowing terms”.

“She’s unreal,” said Burke, “a bundle of joy, great craic; 80 per cent of the time talking to her, she’s just laughing. We got on like crazy. She is the nicest person,” he said and added a direct message to her family.

“Just to her family, they know what an amazing person she was. This was not her fault at all. She was my girl; we were going to travel the world.

“If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine. No words can say how sorry I am. How does this happen when you’re just falling in love? For a girl I love so much, I shouldn’t have let her try shit like that – now she’s gone,” Burke told gardaí.

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