Police fear woman will die

Derry Magistrate's Court sitting in Omagh
Derry Magistrate's Court sitting in Omagh

Police fear a 37-year-old woman ‘will die’ if she is released on bail and does not get treatment for mental health issues, a court has heard.

Leona Devlin,of Spencer Road, is charged with attempted possession of Xanax on July 25 and possessing the class C drug between February 2 and March 31.

An investigating officer told Derry Magistrate’s Court, sitting in Omagh, he believed he could connect the defendant to the charges.

Bail was opposed for fear of further offending and concerns about Devlin’s mental health.

The court heard allegations that police intercepted a package earlier this week addressed to Devlin containing 70 Xanax and 50 Pregablin tablets.

The parcel had been sent from an address in England, from an individual Devlin had been prohibited from having any contact with.

This was a condition of her police bail at the time.

The officer said police believed Devlin is buying drugs from this individual for her own use.

Opposing bail, the officer said that Devlin’s consultant psychiatrist believes there is an ‘extremely high risk of death by misadventure’ in her case.

The officer revealed that police have been called 105 times to help Devlin, adding that she had been taken out of the River Foyle on several occasions and sent to hospital.

He added that on one occasion Devlin had been taken from the bridge, taken to hospital for treatment and she checked herself out and went back to the bridge.

He said there is a real fear given the escalation in her behaviour ‘she will die’ and ‘become another statistic’.

The officer said: “It doesn’t give us any happiness to ask for a remand, but we must request custody for her own safety.”

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said safety concerns were not a reason to refuse bail, stating it would be ‘drastic’.

District Judge Barney McElholm said that it was a ‘disgraceful situation’ that he could not remand Devlin to somewhere where she could receive treatment.

He said politicians ‘argue away about custom tariffs that must be the same within the country’ but their approach to more important things, like resources for mental health issues, is ‘radically different’.

He said if there was ‘proper legislation’ he could ensure Devlin could get treatment.

The judge refused bail and Devlin was remanded in custody until August 23.