Fake '˜experts' jailed after heroin user dies in Luton clinic

Two cowboy clinicians from Luton and Dunstable have been jailed after a heroin user died while receiving '˜treatment' at their unregistered clinic.

Tuesday, 31st January 2017, 10:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st January 2017, 10:58 am
The treatment centre and inset; Gearty

36-year-old Dawid Korkuc died on January 25, 2015, after seeking treatment for heroin addiction at the Ibogaine Treatment Centre on Runfold Road, Luton.

The centre was run by Michael Gearty, 60, and Steven Ellis, 29, neither of whom had any medical qualifications.

After arranging treatment at the clinic, Mr Korkuc was left in the care of Ellis for more than 30 hours. Ellis had no relevant experience but monitored Mr Korkuc visually and recorded his pulse through an iPad application.

However, Mr Korkuc became ill. Paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead. A toxicology report found Mr Korkuc had also taken heroin while at the Ibogaine Treatment Centre which led to his death.

Gearty and Ellis were sentenced at Luton Crown Court yesterday.

Gearty of Wodecroft Road, Luton, was jailed for a total of 21 months after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud and failing to register as a service provider under the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

Ellis, of Bowles Way, Dunstable, was sentenced to nine months after admitting supplying an unauthorised medical product. Both had faced trial for manslaughter but the judge dismissed that charge last week.

During the trial, the jury heard that Mr Korkuc had paid Gearty £1,000 for treatment using Ibogaine – an unlicensed medicine claimed to help drug and alcohol addicts.

Det Sgt Martin Eaton said: “It’s clear to me that Gearty took advantage of vulnerable people, who were desperately trying to rid themselves of their addictions. Mr Korkuc ... was so desperate to get clean he paid the £1,000 for treatment with money borrowed from pay-day loan companies.

“It is incredibly tragic that Mr Korkuc’s life was cut short as he was seeking treatment to live a life free from drugs.

“Our thoughts are very much with Mr Korkuc’s family, and I hope today’s verdict will bring them some sense of justice after what must have been a very difficult time.”