A man who took steroids to build up his muscles died after he became paranoid and fell from the balcony of a third-floor apartment.
Mark Clooney, 31, was taking nandrolone, an anabolic steroid popular with bodybuilders. The substance was in his system at the time of his death, a toxicology report stated.
The pathologist who carried out an autopsy on Mr Clooney, from Mullingar, Co Westmeath, noted that long-term use of nandrolone could cause behavioural and mood problems, including the phenomenon known as roid rage, a condition in which people act aggressively after taking high doses of anabolic steroids regularly.
An inquest was told yesterday that Mr Clooney left his home at about 12.30am on April 7 last year and drove to a friend’s apartment in Santry, north Dublin. David Murphy, a witness, said Mr Clooney rang him that night “talking gibberish”.
“He was talking about some Arab that was after him about money owed,” Mr Murphy told Dublin coroner’s court. “I told him he wasn’t making sense.”
Mr Clooney arrived at Mr Murphy’s apartment at about 2.20am.
“He said he was back on steroids,” Mr Murphy said. “I told him he had to get off them. He told me they really f***ed his head up.”
Mr Clooney had a bag of white powder that he “Hoovered up his nose” and started “freaking out”, Mr Murphy said. A small amount of cocaine was found in Mr Clooney’s system after his death.
“He was paranoid, jumping around the balcony, then he climbed over the railing,” Mr Murphy said.
He told Dr Myra Cullinane, the coroner, that he and his girlfriend tried to pull Mr Clooney inside the railings but he pushed them away. The court heard that Mr Clooney’s foot slipped and he fell. Mr Murphy and his girlfriend called for an ambulance.
Mr Clooney’s mother, Mary, said that her son’s behaviour had changed in recent years. In college, he started going to the gym and became very health conscious. The family was aware that he was taking something that was affecting his behaviour.
“When he moved back in with us he was a different Mark,” she said. “He was on edge, paranoid. He had gotten very big in his shoulders.”
He went to counselling and his mood improved but soon after the family noticed he had changed again, his mother told the inquest.
The 999 call was made at 3.39am and Mr Clooney was declared dead at the scene at 4.48am. Part of the fatal fall was captured on CCTV and hand marks were found on the balcony railing.
Sergeant Fergal Finnegan said that gardai found no evidence of an altercation or struggle at the apartment.
Dr Marie Cassidy, the state pathalogist, said that the cause of death was head injuries due to a fall from a height.
The coroner returned an open verdict. She said: “It’s not entirely clear the exact manner in which Mr Clooney fell to his death.”