Friends' evidence to inquest differs

00:00, Jun 19 2014

A man suffering from schizophrenia has denied supplying the pills that may have caused the death of a Pahiatua man.

The second and final day of an inquest into the death of Shae Hemopo was held in Dannevirke yesterday. Hemopo, 18, was found dead at a rural Pahiatua property on July 7, 2012, after a night of drinking with three friends.

His death was initially treated as an unexplained natural occurrence, before toxicology tests revealed the antipsychotic medication clozapine in his blood. On Tuesday, a doctor said the clozapine could have caused Hemopo to have a fatal cardiac event.

An acquaintance of Hemopo and his friends, who has name suppression, gave evidence in front of Coroner Chris Devonport yesterday about how he took clozapine to treat his paranoid schizophrenia.

The man said he had his medication in pill form and was given it each day by his mother or father.

But the clozapine gave him bad side-effects, so he went off it about a month before Hemopo died.


The three friends who drank with Hemopo initially denied taking any pills, before one admitted they had.

He said he found the pills in a kitchen cupboard and the friends made a pact of silence, promising not to talk about them to police.

Devonport told the schizophrenic man he was the only person the friends knew who took clozapine and he had admitted giving them ecstasy before.

"The facts point to the clozapine coming from you."

But the man continually denied giving anyone clozapine at any time.

"I hated that drug and I wanted no-one to be on that. Why would I give someone my own medication?"

The man's mother and father both said he had no idea where the clozapine pills were kept.

The father kept them in a safe, while the mother hid them in her room at her separate property.

They both said the pills initially came in a bottle before they were given them in blister packs, which were clearly labelled with what pill had to be taken on what day.

The chemist only gave out a week's worth of pills at a time, which all came in one blister pack.

That meant it would be immediately obvious if any of the pills went missing, the mother said.

Devonport asked the mother if her son was prone to making bad decisions while on clozapine.

She said she did not want to answer that question."I don't want this to lead down there."

The three friends of Hemopo had all previously told the inquest the pills came from a blister pack.

Hemopo's father, Mark Hemopo, was scheduled to give evidence yesterday but did not.

The coroner reserved his decision.

Manawatu Standard