A soldier died after telling friends he took three ecstasy tablets while on a night out.
Sion Rosier was serving as a trooper for 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards when he returned home on leave at the beginning of August, 2019.
The 20-year-old, who lived in Heol Trelai, Ely, went for a night out playing pub golf with a group of friends when he began “to look and act weird”, an inquest at Pontypridd Coroner’s Court heard on Monday.
His friends said he admitted taking the pills, and his condition grew gradually worse throughout the night.
In evidence, the friends said an ambulance was not called due to concerns Mr Rosier’s employment may be affected if he got into trouble for taking drugs.
He died in the lounge of friend’s shared house in Llanishen Street in the Cathays area of Cardiff after an ambulance was called.
After his death, his regiment in the army paid tribute describing Mr Rosier as a “true regimental character”.
The court heard Mr Rosier’s family and friends had never known him to take pills before the incident, although he told some friends that he had taken cocaine.
A statement from Mr Rosier’s mother, Julie King, was summarised to the court by senior coroner Graeme Hughes.
Ms King told the court her son joined the army shortly after completing his GCSE’s, becoming an army trooper at Robertson Barracks in Norfolk.
She said she was aware her son smoked “tobacco rollies” but wouldn’t drink in the house and had “no issues at all with drugs”.
In a statement summarised to the court, Tomos Williams said he had known Mr Rosier since he was a child as they were in the same school year.
Mr Williams said Mr Rosier would return home from leave “every three months” for a couple of weeks. He said his friend “liked a drink” but he was not aware of any drug taking until the year before he died.
“I became aware that Sion had this past year began to take cocaine,” he said.
“I think he would generally do this when the alcohol he was drinking would make him tired. Cocaine would be more of a stimulant, a perk up, to keep him going.
“I know he only ever used cocaine, no other drugs. He did this because it would be out of his system quicker before he went back to the barracks in case he got drugs tested.”
Mr Williams said he and Mr Rosier planned to play “pub golf” on the night of Friday, August 3, 2019, with a group of friends to celebrate his partner’s birthday the day before.
Mr Rosier and Ellis Bennett came to Mr Williams’ house that evening where they drank before leaving to walk to pubs and into Cardiff city centre.
The group arrived at basement club Undertone, on Church Street, at about 12.30am, Mr Williams said.
He said Mr Rosier initially appeared to just be drunk but later “started to look and act weird”.
“He was biting and licking his lips,” he said. “His jaw was going like he was chewing and he was throwing his arms around. He was flinching from the strobe lighting.
“I asked him what he had taken and he replied two on the head. Which means two pills together in a row.
“I heard from Ellis later that it was three tablets.”
When the club closed at about 4am, Mr Williams said the group left together but sat Mr Rosier outside next to a wall.
He said a group formed around him concerned for his welfare. He said Mr Rosier was “kind of talking but just repeating mine and Ellis’ name”.
The group discussed calling an ambulance but decided not to do so due to concerns it may affect Mr Rosier’s employment.
“We had normalised it and we also didn’t want him to lose his job,” he said.
“Looking back, I wish we had.”
Mr Williams said a taxi was eventually arranged and Mr Rosier was taken to another friend’s address in Llanishen Street with Ellis Bennett.
“While in the taxi Sion was snoring,” Ellis Bennett said in his statement which was read out to the court.
“He stayed this way until we got to the house. On our arrival Sion did not wake and we had to get him out of the taxi.
“He couldn’t walk. It seemed as though he was sleeping. Passed out.”
Mr Bennett said Mr Rosier was lifted on to the sofa in the recovery position. He was breathing, but he wasn’t responding to either friend.
Mr Bennett said an ambulance was called after they noticed Mr Rosier’s pulse was remaining very high.
In a statement summarised to the court, paramedic Roger Jelfs said he was called to the property on Llanishen Street shortly before 6am on Saturday, August 3.
Mr Jelfs said he found a male unconscious in the lounge area, and a colleague took over CPR from a female who was present. He was also told Mr Rosier had taken ecstasy tablets.
Mr Jelfs said the patient’s lungs sounded as if they were “full of liquid or vomit” and his “jaw appeared to be locked in position”.
“Because the jaw was locked closed and we couldn’t open it we were not able to put in an ET tube,” he said.
Mr Jelfs said Mr Rosier was formally declared deceased at 6.42am on August 3, 2019.
Senior coroner Graeme Hughes said a postmortem examination did not show any “natural pathology” to explain Mr Rosier’s death.
A toxicological examination of blood found ethanol in a low concentration of 50 milligrams per decilitre.
Mr Hughes said the analysis found cocaine in Mr Rosier’s system consistent with “recreational use” which was not indicative of a “recent large dose”.
The concentration of MDMA, also known as ecstasy, was found to be 1.9 milligrams per litre, which Mr Hughes said indicates an “excessive use” of the drug.
Mr Hughes accepted the cause of death given by the pathologist. He said Mr Rosier died from the toxic effects of MDMA with concurrent cocaine use.
A short narrative conclusion of “accidental death resulting from the abuse of drugs” was recorded.