December 20, 2019

Mate's despair after caving in to friend's heroin urge on bucks' night

A man who caved in to his best friend's request to take heroin with him during a drunken bucks' party only to watch him die from an overdose says he believes the man would still be alive "if I'd been a better friend".

Daniel Gray broke down in court as he recalled the January 2009 bucks' party in central Sydney that ended with the death of his lifelong friend, Greg Wood.

The 39-year-old has pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the incident, after prosecutors ignored the wishes of Mr Wood's wife and elected to press charges.

He is being sentenced in the Downing Centre District Court.

Mr Gray recalled how, after a night of drinking and cocaine use, Mr Wood had begun trying to convince him to try heroin with him.

"He'd always gone on about taking heroin, about how he wanted to try it," Mr Gray, a crane operator from Western Australia, said.

Initially, Mr Gray refused, but eventually gave in to his friend's "whining".

"We took a taxi to Kings Cross and just approached a few people on the street to see if we could obtain ...

"If I'd just held out he'd still be alive," he said.

Mr Gray told the court of injecting Mr Wood with heroin and his friend struggling to inject him.

"He was putting the needle in, taking it out, putting it in, taking it out."

Holding back tears, he then described how he thought Mr Wood had fallen asleep until his lips began to turn blue.

It's awful. His daughter no longer has a father. His wife no longer has a husband

"I tried to wake him, just shaking him," Mr Gray said.

"When that didn't work I thought 'there's something wrong.'"

When a cold shower failed to revive his friend, Mr Gray began CPR.

"I was in a state of shock - nothing was working, he wasn't responding."

Mr Gray said that he called an ambulance but from the time officers arrived his memory was a blur.

"All I know is that my friend was lying on the ground, blue, and realising that I was to blame.

"I was devastated, just devastated. I couldn't believe that that had happened. Even when the ambulance officers said he'd gone I just didn't believe it."

"I felt sorry for my friend, I felt sorry for his family. You've spent years with someone, done all sorts of things and you think it'll be alright. And then it's not."

"I feel responsible. If I'd been better, you know, a better friend, he'd be alive. If I'd said 'let's just leave it', if I hadn't given in to his whining, he'd be alive."

"It's awful. His daughter no longer has a father. His wife no longer has a husband."

Mr Gray's barrister is seeking for him to be released without conviction. The Crown opposes this.

The hearing continues.

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Hugo Aston

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