Dead traveller’s mother advised him to get away from drugs

The passport of Northern Irish man Martin Hale
The passport of Northern Irish man Martin Hale

The mother of a former Lisburn man who died after taking drugs in south-east Asia has described him as a “kind-hearted” son.

Teresa Temple also said she knew Martin Stephen Hale – who is said to have died as a result of an opiate-related heart attack – often used narcotics in spite of her warnings.

The Cambodian police website revealed on Saturday – the day of Mr Hale’s 34th birthday – that he had been found in a guesthouse in the capital city Phnom Penh.

The website is written entirely in the Khmer language, and it was not until Monday that the news began to circulate more widely to the public.

It is understood Mr Hale was originally from Lisburn, but later moved to Banbridge.

In an interview with BBC Radio, Ms Temple said: “Martin was a very good son, very kind-hearted to everybody. He saw no wrong in anyone.”

He suffered a heart attack after taking what she called “morphine tablets”.

She had “tried to advise him all the time about getting away from drugs, but it’s just one of those things – he seemed to think he was alright [despite] all he took”.

She helped fund his trip, and said he was “always ringing looking money sent over”.

She added that he had called her every day while travelling in east Asia, and that “he would’ve loved to have settled out there”.

He had been due to return home yesterday.

His body is now likely to be brought back on Friday or Saturday, his mother said.

The BBC said he had a child, aged 10.

Mr Hale had no travel insurance, and a charity called the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust is helping to bring his body back.

Upper Bann DUP MP David Simpson said: “The sudden death of someone so young is obviously a very traumatic and shocking time, but the added complications of it happening so far away from home make it even more difficult for any family.”

Cambodian police said another man from Northern Ireland – Dean McWilliams, whose passport gives his age as 21 – was taken to hospital after being found in the same room as Mr Hale on Friday.

Mr McWilliams, who is believed to be a relative of Mr Hale’s, was later discharged.