Wife pays tribute to Joromie Lewis, who police say did not realise drug was in drink
A Royal Navy veteran has died after drinking a pear drink laced with lethal amounts of cocaine, police have said. Joromie Lewis fell ill soon after drinking the juice and died in hospital within hours.
View attachment 36101 His wife Jayrusha Lewis paid tribute to him on Thursday, calling him a "selfless and devoted family man". She said: "Joromie Lewis was a Royal Navy veteran, originally from St Vincent and the Grenadines. He was a devoted family-oriented man with a selfless attitude to help others, and always knew the right words and advice to give.
"His exemplary conduct and actions touched the lives and hearts of many. He was a member of the Bridgemary family church."
Police said they believed Lewis, who lived in Southampton, did not know there was cocaine in the bottle. A Hampshire police spokesman said: "It appears from police inquiries that Mr Lewis ingested a small amount of liquid in the belief he was drinking a genuine pear drink."
The spokesman added: "On Wednesday police received laboratory test results which showed that the liquid in the juice bottle contained a lethal amount of cocaine.
"Police now have established that the bottle of Cole Cold Pear D fruit drink was manufactured in the Caribbean and the company did not export this drink to the UK."
A postmortem examination was carried out on 7 December. The results were inconclusive and toxicology tests are being carried out.
Police have now appealed for anyone who finds bottles of the Cole Cold Pear D fruit drink not to open it, but to contact the Food Standards Agency and hand it in to authorities. The Food Standards Agency has issued an alert to all local authorities to contact retailers to withdraw Pear D if it is found.
Detective Superintendent Richard Pearson, who is leading the police investigation called Operation Crab, said: "We are working closely with partner agencies, including Southampton's regulatory services, Public Health England, the Food Standards Agency and other law enforcement agencies, including the National Crime Agency, to minimise any risk to the public and to investigate the circumstances leading to the tragic death of Mr Lewis.
"We are supporting his family and linking closely with public health departments. We have taken clear advice from partner agencies and, in light of the analysis of the contents of the bottle, a decision was made to issue the public alert by the Food Standards Agency. Inquiries to date have not identified any further incidents or similar bottles.
"The investigation suggests that this was likely to be a rogue bottle from a consignment of drugs stored in plastic juice bottles. If anyone finds a bottle of Pear D juice, do not open the bottle. If sealed, the bottle is perfectly safe. Take the bottle to the nearest police station, and we will examine the contents if appropriate."
Thursday 12 December 2013
Editor; Kevin Rawlinson
Photographs; Hampshire Constabulary/PA
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