HE was in the wrong place at the wrong time – those are the words of a pastor grieving the loss of a well-loved worshipper who died after unknowingly sipping a drink laced with cocaine.
Pastor Geoff Wood, of Bridgemary Family Church in Bridgemary, spoke of Joromie Lewis during a family fun day on Saturday that was arranged by the congregation before to his death.
As previously reported, the 33-year-old, a father-of-one from Kings Road in Gosport, died after drinking Pear D, a pear fruit drink which had been mixed with a lethal dose of the illegal drug.
Police believe drug smugglers may have used the bottle to bring cocaine into the country from the Caribbean.
It’s understood the Royal Navy veteran was working in Bitterne at the time exporting and importing packages between families.
He took a Pear D drink that wasn’t his while working and immediately fell ill after drinking it.
Pastor Wood, who took over the running of Bridgemary Family Church in April, said members had found it difficult coping with what had happened.
‘At the time of the incident he was working,’ he said.
‘He left the navy about two years ago and set up a business unloading and loading freight being brought to Southampton.
‘Joromie was a good hearted, honest individual.
‘There is no way he would have played a part in any of that (drug smuggling).
‘It was absolutely a case of him being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
‘Last weekend, I announced the news to the congregation.
‘At the time, people didn’t know the circumstances and people were visibly upset and concerned for his wife Jayrusha and daughter Jayla.’
Despite everyone’s sorrow, the weekend event was a big success.
More than 600 guests turned up and they were treated to a live nativity, children’s games, prizes, stalls and a barbecue.
Mr Wood said: ‘The reason we did it was to bring in our community.
‘Christmas can be an expensive time of year and this was our way of blessing the community.
Church member Jack Zaporowski, 47, who went with his sons Adam, five, and David, three, said: ‘It’s lovely and it’s good to see everyone enjoy themselves.’