THE family of a young Pontnewydd father who died just days after taking the party drug ‘meow meow’ have described him as a brilliant dad and a popular, outgoing young man.

Jason Shephard, 24, was born with a congenital heart defect but had not been taking his medication, said his mother Bridget, who found her son in bed at their Pontnewydd home on Friday morning with his fists clenched.

“He said he’d been having pins and needles in his legs and was supposed to take his medication every night,” said Mrs Shephard, 45. “We think it was a heart attack.”

Mr Shephard, who had the name of his two-year-old son Cohen-Jay tattooed on his neck, was described by his parents as outgoing and happy-go-lucky, despite the heart condition for which he had had an operation when he was one day old.

The former St Albans RC High School pupil, who also had a 45-degree curvature of the spine, adored his son and his nephew Jake said Mrs Shephard.

Jason’s father Paul Shephard, 47, said he was “gutted” by the loss of his son.

“He was starting to weight train and liked fishing,” he said.

“Jason enjoyed motorbikes and stripped two motorbike engines, he was always messing about with engines.”

Although Mr and Mrs Shephard knew their son took meow meow and had drunk vodka in recent days, they said they do not think this killed him and do not know when he last took the drug.

“A lot of young people are taking it,” said Mrs Shephard. “I just want them to know how it can affect them. I told Jason not to go mad on it because of his heart but he would say ‘I’ll be all right’. A lot of his friends didn’t knowhe had a heart problem.”

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said Mr Shephard’s sudden death is being treated as unexplained. An inquest has not yet been opened as they are awaiting test results.

‘We’ll remember the good times’

THE mother of Mr Shephard’s son Cohen-Jay described him as “the perfect daddy”.

In a statement she wrote: “The good times we shared as a family are memories that will always be kept close to our hearts.

“I can’t thank you enough for our beautiful son, you were the perfect daddy and I can’t bear to think of our lives without you. No-one will ever compare.

“You’ll stay in our hearts and thoughts forever and you’ll live on through our boy. We’ll do you proud knowing you’re looking down. So sleep tight now, we will miss and love you always. Kirstie, Ethan and baby boy Cohen-Jay. RIP xxx.”