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Man who died suddenly on Eurostar train was ‘drug mule’ killed by burst cocaine wrap

PUBLISHED: 12:30 31 July 2014

The Eurostar terminal at St Pancras station

The Eurostar terminal at St Pancras station

PA Archive/Press Association Images

A man who died suddenly on a Eurostar train was a “drug mule” who had swallowed 110 wraps of cocaine, an inquest revealed.

Nigerian national Ifeanyi Onuegbu was killed after one wrap – thought to contain about seven grams of the Class A drug – burst in his intestines.

The 43-year-old was found slumped in his chair by a fellow passenger on the train from Paris to London, after it had pulled into St Pancras station, who raised the alarm with a passing cleaner.

Paramedics went to the scene and administered CPR, but Mr Onuegbu could not be saved, St Pancras Corner’s Court heard on Monday.

He died on the train in St Pancras station, shortly after its arrival at about 10.40pm on Friday, March 21.

Ruling that the death was accidental, senior coroner Mary Hassell said: “A post-mortem examination revealed 110 drug parcels, at least one of which had ruptured, containing cocaine, and that massive ingestion of cocaine was what killed Mr Onuegbu.

“His death was an accident, he died as a consequence of the rupture of cocaine packages that he was body-packing on his journey from Paris.”

Mr Onuegbu was born in Lagos but lived with his family in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

During the inquest, he was described both as a student and as a businessman who traded in mobile phones and cars.

He often came to London and stayed with his sister at her home in Harrow, travelling via Paris.

Det Con Michael Saunders, of British Transport Police (BTP), said he was a “frequent international traveller” who had visited London about 40 times in the past two years.

Ms Hassell noted that the woman who found Mr Onuegbu had raised concerns about a “lack of urgency” from the emergency services, who walked to the scene.

She found that the response was in fact reasonable, that it was right for paramedics carrying heavy equipment not to tire themselves out by running, and that any earlier intervention would have been unlikely to save Mr Onuegbu, who had absorbed far more than a fatal dose of cocaine.

After the inquest, the BTP confirmed that an investigation into the death and all of its circumstances is ongoing.

A spokesman said it would be “inappropriate” to comment further.

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