Drug taking is Russian Roulette says coroner at inquests for John Hocking, Justas Ropas and Gediminas Kulokas

DCI Caroline Millar at the inquest held at IP-City Centre.

DCI Caroline Millar at the inquest held at IP-City Centre.

A coroner has warned against taking part in the “Russian Roulette” of illegal drug use at the inquests of three young men from Suffolk.

John Hocking, aged 20 from Rendlesham, Justas Ropas, aged 22 from Ipswich and Gediminas Kulokas, aged 24 and also from Ipswich, all died over the Christmas and New Year period.

All three had consumed illegal drugs with Mr Ropas and Mr Kulokas, both Lithuanians, having taken the dangerous red ‘Superman’ tablets which launched a major police investigation at the start of 2015.

Mr Kulokas died at his home in Provan Court and had taken at least one of the tablets at a party on New Year’s Eve.

He was described by Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Millar from Suffolk Constabulary as a hard worker, popular in Suffolk’s Lithuanian community, who had learnt to speak both English and Russian fluently since moving to Ipswich in 2009.

The inquest heard how during the overnight party he had taken the Superman drug, which contained PMMA (Para-Methoxymethamphetamine), and later became sweaty and fidgety.

By the morning he was struggling to breathe and an ambulance was called, but paramedics were unable to save him.

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Mr Ropas lived in Bramford Lane had been in the country for four years and worked at a warehouse in Ipswich.

He spoke English well and was also a Type 1 diabetic who had a tumour removed from his leg during the time he lived in Suffolk.

DCI Millar said he too took the Superman tablets and was known to have used cannabis and ecstasy in the past.

On December 23 at a party at his house Mr Ropas took at most two tablets of the Superman drug, similar to the other men there, and later showed the same symptoms as Mr Kulokas.

He was found dead lying face down on his air bed by his brother at 5pm the next day.

Mr Hocking was found to have a cocktail of drugs, including MDMA, MDA and cocain, in his system following a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s, though had not taken the Superman tablets.

He was described as being sweaty, tensing his muscles and having trouble breathing for a couple of hours after taking drugs during the evening but appeared to be getting better.

However when he tried to get him his condition worsened and he stopped breathing.

Recording a verdict of accidental drug related deaths in the cases of all three men coroner Peter Dean said the circumstances highlighted the deadly nature of illegal drugs.

He said the they all showed “the extreme hazards of drug use” and added: “Even if other people you know have taken (drugs) without adverse effects you do not know you will not succumb.

“People consuming them do not know the effects of that individual tablet on them.”

Dr Dean also expressed his sincere condolences to the family and friends of all three men.

After the inquests DCI Millar said: “The deaths have brought about tragedy to the families of these young men whose lives were cut short and our sympathy goes to all their friends and family.

“It does serve as a stark warning and highlights the dangers of taking illegal drugs and the fatal consequences.

“I would strongly advise anyone considering taking illegal substances that you are literally risking your own life.

“To my knowledge there have been no further drugs of this nature found in circulation and no further deaths in the UK.”

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