‘He was the best brother you could ever have,’ says sister of hair stylist Darren Lacken who died from cocaine overdose

Well-known Dublin hair stylist Darren Lacken died as a result of a cocaine overdose at his family home 15 months ago, an inquest has been told.

ublin District Coroner’s Court heard that he had “lethal levels” of the drug in his body, according to post-mortem examination results.

Mr Lacken was an award-winning stylist and co-owner of Crow Street Collective salon in Temple Bar, Dublin city centre.

He died suddenly at his family home at Killala Road, Cabra West, Dublin, on November 17, 2021.

Mr Lacken (41) from Griffin Close, Clondalkin was discovered in an unresponsive state in his bedroom at around 4pm by his mother, Betty.

The deceased’s sister, Andrea Lacken, told the inquest that her brother had normally stayed a couple of nights each week in the house.

Ms Lacken became emotional as she recalled how her brother said he was quite tired and “burnt” from his business when he called to stay overnight the previous evening.

She said her brother had also complained about being under the weather from some chest infection, for which he had been prescribed several different medicines.

The inquest heard Mr Lacken watched TV with his family but did not have any food or drink.

Ms Lacken said she left the house at 10.15pm to go to work. She recalled her brother jokingly saying he would not give her a hug because he was sick.


Detective Garda Brendan Cafferkey outside Dublin District Coroner’s Court this morning after giving evidence at the inquest into the death of Darren Lacken. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

However, she said he was “just relaxing and seemed happy enough”.

Fighting back tears, Ms Lacken said: “I told him I loved him.”

The witness said she returned home from work the following morning but did not call into her brother’s room because she wanted to let him rest.

Ms Lacken said she was woken by her mother at around 4pm, who said she thought her son was dead because she could not wake him up.

She described finding her brother in his bed with his eyes open but he was “cold to the touch”.

“He was the best brother you could ever have,” she said.

She added: “We were relieved it happened in the family home and not somewhere else. He was home, where he belonged.”

She said the family subsequently searched his bedroom and overnight bag but “nothing was found”.

Detective Garda Brendan Cafferkey gave evidence that there was nothing suspicious, nor was there any sign of foul play, in relation to Mr Lacken’s death.

He outlined how a number of medicines to treat infections and assist with sleeping, which had been prescribed to the deceased, were found in the house but there was no evidence of any other drugs.

The coroner, Aisling Gannon, said cocaine was a drug that could cause an irregular heartbeat which can result in sudden death.

She noted that there was a risk of the drug being fatal on every occasion it is taken by an individual.

Ms Gannon observed that Mr Lacken died from “acute cocaine toxicity.”

While post-mortem examination results showed the deceased had early signs of cardiac fibrosis and fatty liver disease, the coroner said they were not a factor in his death.

As there was no evidence to suggest Mr Lacken’s death was an intentional act, the coroner returned a verdict of death by misadventure.


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