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'His friends left him in the garden to die' - Mum of Liam (19) who died from alcohol poisoning

Independent.ie logo Independent.ie 25/03/2019 Catherine Devine

a man and a woman posing for a picture: Liam McGlinchey with his grandmother Ruth Savastio Liam McGlinchey with his grandmother Ruth Savastio THE heartbroken mother of teenage boy who died from alcohol poisoning has urged other young people to look after their friends.

Liam McGlinchey (19) from Buncrana, Co Donegal was found dead outside his grandmother’s house in Albany, New York state in August 2017.

He had been out drinking with friends, who brought him home when he became too drunk and left him outside the house.

His 91-year-old grandmother found him lying motionless in the garden the next morning.

Liam's mother, Helen Savastio, told Independent.ie, that young people need to be aware of the dangers of binge drinking.

Drinks on a table © Catalyst Images Drinks on a table

"A lot of people don't realise that there is a big difference between being 'legless' and not waking up in the morning.

"So many teenagers and young adults are drinking huge amounts of alcohol but they don't understand that it can be fatal.

"My Liam was 19 and had drank before in Ireland, but he was the last person who you would think would die from alcohol poisoning. He was a tall, athletic lad and he was someone you would think would be able to handle his alcohol but nobody is invincible."

Liam, who grew up in Buncrana, moved to the US in 2017 to live with his grandmother Ruth and to take his GED exams.

On the night of August 25, Liam had been out celebrating with his friends after passing his exams.

Glass of beer © Catalyst Images Glass of beer

"There was a misconception that Liam could handle his drink because he was Irish and at the party that night he was challenged to consume a lot of alcohol in a small space of time," Helen said.

"Young people don't realise how dangerous that can be and they think they'll live forever, but they need to be aware that there are fatal consequences."

Helen urged young people to look after their friends at parties and to raise the alarm if they notice something is wrong.

"Parents would much, much rather get a call to say their son is unwell than wake up to news that their child has died the next morning.

"My Liam was driven home and dropped outside under a tree, left to die. I'll never understand why those two people didn't seek help for my son."

Helen said that her 91-year-old mother still hasn't recovered from from finding Liam dead in her garden.

Bar stools © Catalyst Images Bar stools

"She was looking out the window to see if the morning paper had arrived and she saw a leg in the garden. She knew it had to be Liam so she ran down the stairs. She said she felt like a child again running down the stairs at speed. She could have fallen and died herself."

Helen said that her mother Ruth blames herself for the tragedy as she felt responsible for Liam.

"At her age, finding her young grandson like that is just absolutely horrific. I don't think she'll ever recover from it."

Last week, the two young men who left Liam home, were charged with criminally negligent homicide.

Samuel Heroux (21) and Isaiah DePiazza (19) are expected to go on trial in the US in July of this year.

"It's great to see some justice, but I'll never understand how they could have just left Liam to die. They really should have known better and Liam could have survived if he had been given medical attention."

She added that the arrests have been "emotionally draining" but hopes that the upcoming trial will bring some answers.

"It will be really hard to hear all the details about what happened to Liam but at least I'll know. At the moment, I have different scenarios playing out in my head like was he calling out for me as he lay there dying or did he ever regain consciousness after passing out?

"At least I'll know what happened to my son and I hope it will make other young people more aware of the dangers of alcohol. I don't wany any other family to suffer like we are."

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