Tortured drug death dad: ‘I wish I could bring him back’
The tortured father of MDMA drug overdose victim Callum Brosnan blames himself for his son's death and prays each day that he could bring him back after he died taking nine capsules at Sydney's Knockout Games of Destiny festival.
Fighting back tears Cornelius Brosnan said hearing the harrowing details of his son's final moments replayed at his coronial inquest was "distressing" but hoped Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame's recommendations would prevent another summer drug festival death.
"That's my son they're talking about, it's distressing, each moment of the way, I wonder what I could have differently, as a father, it's hard to let go," Mr Brosnan told The Daily Telegraph.
"It's important for young people to speak up without feeling they're criminals...
"If Callum's death helps save another young person dying from drugs at a festival ... you never know, you just hope, I have every faith in the coronial inquest.
"I have funny dreams, I keep thinking, in my head, I can bring him back."
The inquest into six festival deaths hard how musically-talented Callum, 19, collapsed frothing at the mouth at Sydney Olympic Park train station after taking nine MDMA pills mixed with cocaine in December.
A close friend said the disability care worker preferred to "push through" and not seek help at the festival medical tent when he felt unwell at the Sydney Showground.
Musically-talented Callum, who had deferred a place at the Sydney Conservatorium to work with autistic children, took cocaine before the festival and bought three and a half capsules at the venue at 5.30pm.
A friend who had purchased 30 capsules for $900 at the festival later gave Callum a further two. Police believe Callum had taken a total of nine by the time he collapsed shortly after 12am on platform three.
"He was fine dancing and at 11.30pm he was just standing there looking at the stage looking blank," the friend, 21, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court.
"I was genuinely worried, I had never seen him like that.
"He said he was going to keep going, he was going to keep a strong mind and push through, he thought he would get through it by staying calm," the friend said.
"There was a bright medical tent, I asked if he wanted to go, that it was ok to get help, he said 'no'.
"He was dancing with light up gloves and was doing shows for people, he could have got more drugs for doing the shows, people get rewards for doing those shows."
Callum's parents Cornelius and Heidi heard how "bright and kind" Callum first used MDMA with friends in year nine in 2014, progressing from one to two, to five to nine.
He collapsed in a seizure, his eyelids flickering and frothing at the mouth, on the platform when first aid manager put him in recovery position and called for an ambulance.
He was vomiting for five minutes before falling unconscious.
An ambulance was called three times and arrived at 12.45am. He was rushed to Concord Hospital at 1.46am with lethal temperature of 41.9 degrees.
He was intubated and ice packs were used. Despite resuscitation efforts he did not survive.
He died after going into multi system organ failure caused by MDMA and cocaine.
The friend said it was "common" for friends to take more than three MDMA capsules at festivals.
"Because the initial high starts to wear off and it's to try to get back to that state," he told the court.
"The MDMA purchased sometimes wouldn't be that strong. Friends take them before going in to avoid detection on the way in.
"It's a boost of energy, an alternative to drinking where you get tired and sloppy. It keeps you going."
Police officer in charge of investigating Callum's death Detective Inspector Karl Leis said a see-through capsule found in Callum's bumbag later tested positive for MDMA with 77 per cent purity.
He called for better nighttime CCTV to monitor sick patrons on their way home.
"There is high quality CCTV footage, but it's dark, although there is lighting within confines of railway station, when the person leaves you don't know if are they safe," he told the court."
Knockout Games of Destiny event organisers Harder Style United (HSU) told the inquest the hard style music festivals offered young people a platform to "show off" three types of dances they practise at home - hacking, muzzing and shuffling.
"I want to discourage drug mules big time at our event," HSU owner Peter Finley said.
"Hard style music events allow people to enjoy music in their own way
It gives young people opportunity to show off their muzzing, shuffling and hacking, it's healthy, it's good exercise.
"We were devastated by the death (Callum), we have amped up our security and medical services since."