“WE HAVE many questions to ask.”
Those are the words of the widow of a Hampshire man whose inquest into his death was adjourned after he drank fruit juice laced with cocaine.
Royal Navy veteran Jeromie Lewis died just hours after celebrating his daughter’s third birthday when he was taken ill.
The delivery driver, who lived in Kings Road, Gosport, became ill immediately after unwittingly drinking a Cole Cold Pear-D juice bottle contaminated with a lethal amount of the drug.
Family barrister Fiona Canby spoke at Southamp-ton Coroner’s Court requesting to hear evidence from another witness who was not listed for yesterday’s hearing.
Mrs Canby said: “While Mrs Lewis is anxious that this matter is dealt with as quickly as possible, she wants this to be dealt with properly.
“Mrs Lewis would want Mrs Allen to be called because she has many questions to ask.”
The family of the 33-year-old have questions for Juanette Allen who provided a police statement but was not requested to attend the hearing. Speaking outside the Hulse Road court, Mr Lewis’s widow Jayrusha said: “There are so many answers I want. I want to know what happened.”
Because of the circumstances surrounding the death, and because it was at a place of work, a jury has also been requested.
Central Hampshire coroner Grahame Short said he would consider both proposals and adjourned the inquest to a later date.
Mr Lewis had been working at his employer’s lock-up garage in Bitterne when he drank the juice on December 5 last year. His death prompted a nationwide appeal to traders from the Food Standards Agency to withdraw the drink, which is produced by Trinidad and Tobago-based firm SM Jaleel, in the Caribbean.
Five people were also arrested after Mr Lewis’s death on suspicion of supplying a class A drug though no further action was taken.
Police investigations led to the arrest of a 33-year-old London man. They also arrested two men, aged 37 and 38, and a 37-year-old woman, all from Southampton, and a 39-year-old London man.
The drugs are thought to have come through Portsmouth and neither Mr Lewis nor his colleagues are thought to be involved with the supply of the drug.