Police end probe into Gosport man’s ‘cocaine-laced’ juice drink death

Joromie Lewis
Joromie Lewis
Cheltenham Road. Picture: Google Maps

Man, 27, arrested after house burglary investigation

Have your say

A POLICE probe into the death of a Royal Navy veteran who died after drinking a cocaine-laced soft juice has ended.

Joromie Lewis, 33, of Kings Road, Gosport, died in December last year after consuming some of a Pear D juice drink in Southampton.

An inquest into his death was yesterday adjourned at Southampton Coroner’s Court after a solicitor representing the family asked for the coroner to consider bringing in a jury.

Hampshire police yesterday said it is no longer investigating the death as they could not find anyone else involved.

A spokeswoman said they had investigated a link between the bottle of drink and were looking for similar consignments shipped into the country but found none.

Yesterday friends and family paid further tribute to Mr Lewis.

Mr Lewis was Suleiman Hamoud’s best man at his wedding.

Speaking after the inquest, Mr Hamoud, of Lanyard Drive, Gosport, said: ‘He was a very good person, very kind at heart.

‘We used to do things together, go for dinner with the families.’

Relatives and friends had packed the court for the brief hearing.

Rene Collins, 35, grew up with Mr Lewis in St Vincent in the Caribbean. He told of the day he was told of his friend’s death.

‘I cried the whole weekend,’ he said. ‘He had an effect on everybody, a positive effect.

‘He was a very cool guy, very nice and never got into trouble.’

He added Mr Lewis’ widow Jayrusha, who has a young daughter Jayla, has a lot of people supporting her.

At Southampton Coroners’ Court solicitor Fiona Canby, representing Mrs Lewis, asked the coroner to consider having a jury inquest. She argued as a notifiable poisoning a jury was required by law.

Coroner Grahame Short agreed and adjourned the inquest.

A Home Office pathologist and a police officer were due to give evidence today.

Ms Canby also requested that another named person be called to give a witness statement in person.

Mr Short said: ‘I see no alternative but to adjourn without hearing any evidence.’

As reported, Mr Lewis died on December 5 last year at a Southampton warehouse after drinking soft drink Pear D. It had been laced with cocaine.

Five people arrested in connection with his death were later released without charge.

Det Supt Dick Pearson from Hampshire Major Investigation Unit had previously described the investigation as complex, covering both Mr Lewis’ death and drug trafficking offences.

Police had said Mr Lewis, a Royal Navy veteran, ingested a small amount of liquid from a bottle of Pear D in the belief he was drinking a genuine pear drink.

He died just hours later in Southampton General Hospital.

His funeral was held on December 30. His death sparked a Food Standards Agency alert over the drink, which manufacturer Cole Cold does not export to the UK.