Devastated family of young mum found dead on bench in Belfast from drug overdose in plea before MLA

The heartbroken family of a young mother found dead on a bench in Belfast from a drug overdose have opened up about their trauma for the first time.

Amy Corry died on this day two weeks ago under the most tragic circumstances. A 26-year-old man has been the victim of a growing drug crisis in the city that many say has now become a public health emergency.

And they blew up the authorities for their reaction.

“People are sitting there (in Stormont), what are they doing? It seems to us that they do nothing about it, ”says stepfather Mark Lippiatt.

“Something needs to be done now, no more talking. I would like them to come and talk to us while we are sitting in such grief right now.”

Demi’s sister Shauna Fleming is just as evil.

“It won’t stop until they come out and do something, it will only get worse,” she warns.

“Come here and see for yourself what is happening in the city center.”

Here, about which Shona speaks, her sister suddenly died. The bench is now a shrine.

It sits in the shadow of the University of Ulster, on the edge of a children’s playground and next to St Anne’s Cathedral.

Close

Mark Lippiatt and Shauna Fleming talk to our reporter Sharon O’Neill.

“My heart hurts. I’m just lost and heartbroken. She shouldn’t have been found here where we sit. She was young and had her whole life ahead of her,” Shona says.

“Everything gets into my head, how long did she lie here or did it happen before she was found? So many questions and no answers yet,” says Mark.

Demi’s lifeless body was found in the city center just after six in the morning. A bench, a stone’s throw from the square known as Writers’ Square, where drug addicts often gather.

Close

Shauna Fleming and Mark Lippiat on the bench where Demi died

“I was just told that Demi was found dead in the center of Belfast, I don’t know where, I don’t know what happened. It seemed like an eternity trying to figure it out,” explains stepfather Mark, who has taken care of Demi since childhood and treated her like his own daughter.

“Breaking the news has been the hardest thing in my life. It’s still hard to accept now.”

Holding back tears, Shona recalls: “I didn’t believe it at all, I thought it was a lie. I just said, “No, no.”

“Just seeing her laying there (in the morgue) with a white sheet over her… I just saw her face. I still don’t believe it, sometimes I believe it, sometimes I don’t.

“But I’m sitting here right now where she passed away, and it’s starting to work.”

Close

Demi Corrie with two children

Demi died on the sixth anniversary of her mother Alena’s death from cancer. And just 12 weeks after her younger brother Brandon (23) took his own life after a suspected crack overdose.

“After my brother, she just got dizzy. They (brother and sister) should be here, they should still be with us. Life shouldn’t be like this. We’ve lost so much. Pain is ridiculous,” Shona says.

Mark intervenes: “These are not just statistics, these are real people, they have real families. They were loved so much, so much. It destroyed us. We don’t want any other family going through what we’re going through right now.”

Demi had her demons even before her brother Brandon died. She took the illegal prescription drugs pregabalin, commonly used to treat epilepsy and anxiety, which are called “bads” on the street, and “blues”, sedatives such as diazepam. Both, a toxic and dangerous combination.

But next to the body of a young mother, white powder and needles were found – a clear sign of cocaine and heroin. Demi’s family will know exactly when the results of the toxicology tests come in.

“It shows you how they (drugs) take over your life and how they take you. And you don’t care what you have or what’s in front of you. It’s all about the drugs, Shona tells us.

Like many struggling with addiction, Demi had a home, but she often came to town to recover. It was the only trip from which she would not return.

“Demi knew how easy it was to get drugs here (in the city). They are everywhere, ”Shona admits.

“It’s like going to the store for a pack of sweets, it’s that simple. And they (the merchants) don’t care if they kill people. As long as they get money, they are happy.”

“They are terrible people (dealers), they just ruin people’s lives. Whole families. Just look at us,” adds Mark.

A recent Sunday Life investigation revealed the extent of Belfast’s addiction problem.

And he told the story of one woman, Lisa Murphy, who lay dead for 11 days before her body was found.

Amid growing pressure, Belfast City Council recently held an emergency meeting to discuss what more can be done. It turned out there that since June 15 people have died from overdoses in the city.

We now know that Demi Corri was one of them. Now that her family has spoken out, she is becoming another face of this growing crisis.

The young mother’s funeral was held on Monday in Antrim, and drug abusers were ordered to stay away. There were heartbreaking scenes with the children she loved so much, a little boy and a girl who came to say goodbye.

“People’s attitudes need to change, it’s not just a homeless person on the street taking drugs. After all, they are people, human beings. They need help,” adds Mark.

“I hope that now that people are reading this, their eyes are being opened and they are seeing what this is doing to families. It tore us apart.”