Tuesday September 17 2013

– A Melbourne man who died after a suspected drug overdose at Penrith’s Defqon 1 dance festival confessed to taking pills as hospital staff fought to save his life.

James Munro, 23, of Bayswater, died at Nepean Hospital about 10.30pm on Saturday after having fits and repeated episodes of cardiac arrest.

June Avanessian’s son, Andrew, was with Mr Munro at the festival and said her son did not realise Mr Munro had “taken so many pills”.

“I think he got them on the net,” Ms Avanessian said.

Police yesterday said a batch of slow-working drugs could have been circulating at the event, which resulted in a further 14 people in hospital with overdose-like symptoms.

“Some of the drugs that they may have taken over the weekend had an actual delayed effect,” Detective Acting Chief Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said.

“That delayed effect may have caused them to think that this drug may not be working and to take another one and another one. In this particular young man, it proved fatal.”

Mr Munro was rushed to the site’s medical tent only about an hour after gates opened. He was taken to hospital just after 1pm.

Detective Superintendent Katsogiannis said it was unclear which drug Mr Munro had taken, or if it was similar to the other hospitalised partygoers. Analysis of various seized substances was continuing.

A number of partygoers linked the overdoses to pills stamped with a horse’s head.

“My sister and I were in the medic tent,” Katrina Plotnikov said. “We were advised by the nurse that someone was selling green pills and all these kids who took them ended up in the medical tent.”

When questioned about the overdoses, NSW Drug Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Nick Bingham said there appeared to be a “common theme” between them and the “horsehead logo”.

He said revellers may have taken pills they thought were ecstasy but which actually contained other dangerous substances, including one known as PMA, often sold as ecstasy despite having a stronger effect and taking longer to kick in. It has been linked to several drug-related deaths at UK music festivals this year.

Almost 48 hours after Mr Munro died, festival organiser Q-dance finally broke its silence with a spokesperson saying: “We are deeply saddened by the tragedy. Our sincere sympathies go to the man’s family and friends.

“We are doing everything possible to assist NSW Police in their inquiries.”

– Simon Black, Amy Dale & Tom Minnear


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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