Tyne & Wear

Durham rugby players in Sri Lanka had 'taken heroin' before death

Thomas Baty/Thomas Howard Image copyright DCRFC
Image caption Thomas Baty (left) and Thomas Howard complained of breathing difficulties after going to a nightclub

Two County Durham amateur rugby players who died while on a club tour had taken heroin, a court in Sri Lanka has heard.

Thomas Howard, 25, and Thomas Baty, 26, died after visiting a nightclub in Colombo in May.

The magistrates' court in Colombo heard that there was evidence to suggest the men had been sold the drug.

Lanka Jayaratna, magistrate for Colombo Fort, ordered police to further investigate and report back to her on 3 August.

The men had been touring the country with Durham-based Clems Pirates RFC and had played a game against Ceylonese Rugby and Football Club (CRFC) in Colombo.

At the time Sri Lankan police said some British players went to Colombo's Cleopatra nightclub after the match on May 13 and returned to their hotel.

Mr Howard and Mr Baty complained of breathing difficulties to the hotel management and were taken to Nawaloka Hospital, where they died.

The team - which is overseen by Durham City Rugby Football Club - had arrived in Sri Lanka for the tour on 9 May .

Image caption Both players died in Colombo's Nawaloka Hospital

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