- Romano Dias, 55, was given bottle of what appeared to be a fruit-based drink by his daughter
- It had been delivered to her home in a package showing the correct address but the wrong name
- After drinking half a glass of the drug Mr Dias began to feel ill and died shortly afterwards
- Drug find unusual for the UK but, has been brought to peoples attention by TV hit Breaking Bad
A man has died after drinking a massive overdose of liquid crystal meth after mistaking it for a health drink.
Romano Dias, 55, had been given a bottle of what appeared to be a fruit-based drink by his daughter Katee, who had found it in a package delivered to her home.
After downing about half a glass of the liquid he immediately began to feel ill and died shortly afterwards.
Police say that finding the drug in the UK is very unusual, but crystal meth has been brought to the public’s attention by the multi award-winning TV show Breaking Bad.
An image from Breaking Bad: Romano Dias, 55, drank about half a glass of the £34,000 liquid after it was delivered to his daughter’s house
Mr Dias’s partner Debra Dulson said in a statement that he had opened the bottle and found a cork under the cap.
She said he took a mouthful of the drink and had said that it tasted ‘awful’ before complaining that his throat was burning.
He then said: ‘I am in trouble here. I am dying, I am dead.’
Analysis of the bottle, which had been labelled as a health drink, showed it contained £34,000 of pure methamphetamine.
An illegal crystal meth laboratory. The picture shows the liquid form of the drug, which killed Mr Dias
The drug, commonly known as crystal meth, is an extremely strong amphetemine that is normally smoked, snorted or injected.
An inquest heard that the package had been delivered to Katee Dias’s home in London. It showed the correct address but the wrong name.
She took the parcel in, thinking someone would collect it and kept it for six months before opening the package and finding the bottle.
Much later she passed it on to her father.
Detective Inspector Ian Simmons told Huntington Coroners Court: ‘The £34,000 is a significant amount. ‘I would say it is highly likely it was destined for a dealer.
‘It is unique, this is not an event that happens in Cambridgeshire or elsewhere.’
He said that crystal meth was a drug police ‘rarely encounter’ in Cambridgeshire.
DI Simmons said Mr Dias of Impington, Cambridgeshire and his family had not been connected with the drug in any way, adding: ‘This was a completely unaccountable and unforseen chain of events.’
He said it was his professional opinion that the bottle had been part of a plan to bring Class A drugs into the UK.
The package had been delivered up to three years ago and the wrappings had been destroyed, limiting the police investigation.
Coroner William Morris said: ‘This is a dreadful case.’
He said he had been considering a verdict of unlawful killing, but there had been no evidence that whoever put the drug in the bottle intended any harm to Mr Dias or anyone else.
Mr Morris concluded that Mr Dias’ death had been accidental.
Walter White and Jessie Pinkman, played by Bryan Cranston (left) and Aaron Paul (right) ‘cook’ crystal meth in the award-winning TV series Breaking Bad
BREAKING BAD: THE TRUTH BEHIND THE DRUG WHICH INSPIRED THE SERIES
Crystal meth, which is the street name for methamphetamine, is not widely available in the UK.
But the drug, which was used by one million Americans in 2011, came into the public consciousness with the TV show Breaking Bad.
Starring Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad tells the story of Walter White, a mild-mannered science teacher who uses his knowledge of chemistry to create a crystal meth empire following a cancer diagnosis.
Aaron Paul (left) and Bryan Cranston (right) star in Breaking Bad. The show has brought crystal meth into the public consciouness
The drug is generally odourless and looks like a white crystalline powder, although some forms have strong ammonia smell, because of solvents used to make it
Taking the substance, in any of its forms, increases arousal in nervous system and pumps up levels of norepinephrine and dopamine
At low doses crystal meth boosts alertness and blocks hunger and fatigue.
Higher doses of the drug causes exhilaration and euphoria and very high doses cause agitation and paranoia.
Side effects include anxiety, emotional swings, and paranoia and there is a risk of fever, convulsions, and falling into a coma.
Death can result from burst blood vessels in the brain (triggered by spikes in blood pressure) or heart failure
The high from the drug tends to last 4-12 hours with users continuing to take the drug for days – sometimes addicts stay awake for days, eat very little and experience a heightened state of arousal.