‘Gifted’ man found decomposed in Dublin flat – inquest

Family of musician says he slipped through the cracks of the mental health system

Neil McCabe  was described as a gifted musician, a talented artist and a beautiful person by his family at the inquest into his death. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Neil McCabe was described as a gifted musician, a talented artist and a beautiful person by his family at the inquest into his death. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The body of a young man who slipped through the cracks of the mental health system was found decomposed in his Dublin flat, an inquest heard.

Neil McCabe (28), of Fairview Avenue Lower, was described as a gifted musician, a talented artist and a beautiful person by his family at the inquest into his death. His remains were found in his ground-floor bedsit on July 1st, 2015.

Mr McCabe was first treated with medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder aged seven, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

He had a history of anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, an eating disorder and, as he grew older, developed problems with alcohol.

During the inquest his family asked questions about medications he was prescribed, including Librium, used to help relieve the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

His father, Michael McCabe, told Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane that his son underwent an alcohol detox programme on 22 occasions in the two years before he died.

“Neil was walking and talking at nine months old, he was gifted. We placed him in the hands of a system that I believed destroyed him,” his mother Helena McCabe told the court.

Alcohol dependency

Neil McCabe spent three weeks at the Mater hospital after he was admitted in March 2015 following a seizure. He was treated for alcohol dependency and an MRI scan revealed a fractured vertebrae in his back.

“I visited him almost every day. He was in great form. But he was worried about going home. He pleaded to be allowed stay,” Mrs McCabe said.

His mother last saw him a day or two after his discharge from the Mater on April 3rd, 2015. She spoke to him a few days later but he had been drinking, she said.

“I texted him after that but got no reply. When I didn’t hear from him I thought he’d got his life back together,” Mrs McCabe told the court.

The last use of his ATM card was on April 20th, 2015.

Garda Barry Poland said he responded to a call from Mr McCabe’s neighbour on July 1st, 2015. Connie Homan said she had not seen him for about four weeks.

A postmortem found Mr McCabe suffered no wounds or trauma and the cause of death was undetermined.

Returning an open verdict, Dr Cullinane said she would write to a consultant psychologist at St Vincent’s hospital and the social work department at the Mater hospital seeking a meeting with the family to “go through outstanding issues”.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr McCabe’s brother said he had “slipped through the cracks” of the mental health system and his loss had devastated the family.