tragic death | 

Sister of murder victim Tony Dempsey died of overdose at homeless shelter, inquest hears

Coroner said Chloe Dempsey had ‘a lot of substances’ in her system after being found dead in her hostel room

Chloe Dempsey

Murder victim Tony Dempsey

Seán McCá

An inquest has heard that recent murder victim Tony Dempsey formally identified his sister last year after she died from a drug overdose at a homeless shelter in Dublin.

Chloe Dempsey was found dead in her room on March 1, 2021 by staff at the Phoenix Lodge Hostel on Parkgate Street who were concerned when she failed to appear for breakfast.

A sitting of Dublin District Coroner’s Court heard a post-mortem examination on the body of the 23-year-old mother-of-two – who had previously lived at Michael Mallon House, Vicar Street in the Liberties – showed she died from “multi-drug toxicity”.

A murder investigation was launched last month after the discovery of the body of Chloe’s brother, Tony Dempsey (28) which had been left to decompose in a flat used as a “drugs den” in Kevin Barry House, Coleraine Street, Dublin 7.

Mr Dempsey, who was originally from Inchicore, had suffered severe head injuries when gardaí came across his remains on September 12.

Gardaí were alerted to the scene after residents complained about a strong smell as well as anti-social activity at the property, which is managed by the Peter McVerry Trust.

It required the results of a post-mortem examination to help establish his identity because of the state of decomposition of his body.

It is believed he was brutally beaten to death in the apartment in the north inner city and his body was left to decompose for up to 10 days, despite large numbers of people visiting and staying in the property.

It was the latest tragedy to beset the victim’s family as his mother, Christine, died in July last year at her home in Crumlin.

Murder victim Tony Dempsey

Mourners at Mr Dempsey’s funeral, at St Bernadette’s Church in Crumlin last month, were told that the deaths of his mother and sister in a short space of time last year had been “a devastating blow” for him.

A local priest observed that the Dempsey family had been living “a nightmare” after the loss of three members in the recent past.

The inquest into his sister’s death yesterday heard that Mr Dempsey had identified her body to gardaí at Dublin City Mortuary in Whitehall on March 2 last year.

Garda Daniel Smith said prescription drugs had been found on a bedside locker in Ms Dempsey’s room but there was no evidence of any note being left for her family.

An uncle of the siblings, also called Tony Dempsey, told the hearing that Chloe had a drug problem which was “her main downfall”.

Mr Dempsey said he had last seen his niece about a week before her death.

“She was doing OK. She was always looking great. She presented herself beautifully,” he recalled.

Mr Dempsey said not having access to her children made his niece turn to drugs and she had been living in a homeless shelter.

His brother, Shane Dempsey, said Chloe had lived in his home for a long period but had moved out.

Shane Dempsey said she had asked if she could move back in about a month before her death but he refused as he was concerned that she was still using drugs.

He expressed guilt for not letting his niece live with him but said he had to think of his own children.

Mr Dempsey said his niece was caught in “a vicious circle” in relation to drugs and having access to her own kids.

The coroner, Clare Keane, said post-mortem examination results showed Ms Dempsey had “a lot of substances” in her system.

Returning a verdict of death by misadventure, Dr Keane said she had heard no evidence to suggest there was anything intentional about the victim’s passing.

Addressing Ms Dempsey's family, Dr Keane said they had nothing to blame themselves for, in what was “a very tragic death”.

She expressed condolences to the relatives of Ms Demspey, acknowledging that they had experienced “a lot of losses” in the past 18 months.

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