A British fitness instructor died of a drugs overdose after being alone with two men in a strip club for 30 hours, an inquest heard.
Neither Joseph Berhe nor Tomas Mesfun called an ambulance or tried to assist Stacey Tierney, 29, while they were in the private room at Dreams club in Melbourne, Stockport Coroner’s Court heard.
It was the only part of the club not covered by CCTV.
Miss Tierney, from Withington, Manchester, was at an ‘after party’ in the management offices of the club where she worked while travelling Australia and saving to study nursing.
A combination of drug toxicity from alcohol, heroin, ecstasy and cocaine caused her death, the coroner ruled.
Both Berhe and Mesfun were arrested as suspects by Victoria Police and gave ‘inconsistent’ accounts but neither have been prosecuted over her death, the inquest heard.
The private room was used for parties after the club closed and had been ‘cleaned up’ by the time police were called.
Both men told detectives they were sleeping themselves, but this was contradicted by phone records and text messages, one saying: ‘This chick’s passed out.’
Alison Mutch, senior coroner for South Manchester recorded an open verdict into Miss Tierney’s death, saying there was still ‘unanswered questions’ about what happened for a long period of time shortly before her death.
Miss Tierney’s tearful mother and other family members demanded to know why no help was called.
Her mother Michelle Frost told the hearing: ‘They didn’t bother to help her.
‘They didn’t phone for an ambulance. She was a good person. I feel there’s been an injustice somewhere.
‘Why would you watch somebody die?’
Miss Tierney had first travelled to Australia in 2014 with her boyfriend and returned a year later.
Her family believed she was working in a bar but she had started to work at the club in November 2016.
Although she did not like the work the money was good and she had gained a study visa to save up for a nursing studies course, the court heard.
Detective Superintendent Estelle Mathieson, from Greater Manchester Police, said Miss Tierney began her shift at the club at around 8.30pm on Saturday December 17 2016.
She is seen on CCTV working normally and ‘does not appear to be overly intoxicated’, the officer said.
The last time she was seen alive was at 3.41am in the early hours of the next day, going into the management offices for the after party.
Six people were present but another woman, the bar manager and his friend left, leaving Miss Tierney with Berhe and Mesfun, the court heard.
At 12.30am on Monday, the following day, a text message was sent to the bar manager by one of the men saying: ‘This chick’s passed out and I can’t leave her. She’s scaring me.’
Around 5.30am a second message read: ‘I don’t know what to do any more.’
A pathology report concluded Miss Tierney died around 5.30am on Monday.
Coronor Ms Mutch asked the officer: ‘What’s clear is that when she became unwell nobody sought any help for her?
‘And the Australian police and Australian prosecuting authorities take the view that does not amount to a criminal offence?’
Ms Mathieson replied: ‘They can’t prove a criminal offence. There’s clearly been an attempt to clean up the scene, made it difficult to gather evidence.
‘Once she disappears from CCTV she’s not seen alive again and the accounts we have been given are inconsistent.’
Another six hours passed before bar owner, Steve Kyriacou, arrived at 11.43am to find Berhe and Mesfun along with Miss Tierney’s lifeless body on a sofa and emergency services were called.
Miss Tierney’s stepfather, David Frost, told the hearing: ‘It leaves us all baffled. Surely they are hiding something?’