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Friday, 28 July 2017

Health : Teenage girl, died of a heroin overdose after going home from a night of clubbing with a man almost three times her age

A teenager died of a heroin overdose after she ended up going home with a man almost three times her age when she lost her friend in a nightclub.

Charlotte Wade, 18, became separated from her friend after a night out in Preston in July last year and went back to the home of Stephen McDonald, 51.

At 3pm the following afternoon, McDonald called an ambulance to say he had found Charlotte unresponsive at his flat. Tests showed she had traces of heroin, morphine and cocaine in her system.

McDonald was later jailed for four years for two charges of supplying Class A drugs and failing to surrender to bail. It is not known how Miss Wade came to be at his property although her ex-boyfriend's mother lived nearby.

In the hours before her death the teenager had used McDonald's phone to call a friend and told her not to tell anyone she was at the flat. It is not believed she had any previous history of drug issues.

Brief details of last July's tragedy emerged at an inquest which heard how Miss Wade who is thought to have been training to be a hairdresser at college had gone for a night out in Preston with a friend named only as Megan.

Det Insp Roger Ashcroft of Lancashire Police told the Preston hearing: 'We know that Charlotte had gone into Preston City Centre at around 10pm in the evening of the 17 July, 2016 with a friend called Megan and they went out and drank a considerable amount of alcohol.

'They got to the club and arrived at 2am but while it is not clear what or how much Charlotte drank, she got separated from her friend at 3am when she got ejected from the club after a disturbance inside.

'She was separated from her friend and went off on her own. What we do know is that she got in a taxi from CCTV. At 4am she knocked on the door of the mother of Josh Kirkham who she had previously been in a relationship with.

'A short distance away Stephen McDonald lived in his flat and it was some time that morning that Charlotte arrived there. While she was there she was in contact with a friend Zoe who spoke to Charlotte on Stephen McDonald's phone and said that she seemed normal and fine and spoke to her on two occasions that day.

'She requested that she should not tell anybody that she was there at the time. At 3.08pm there was a call from an ambulance which was diverted to the police regarding a unresponsive female.

McDonald called the ambulance and was at the flat when they arrived. He was later arrested as a result of the post mortem of supplying class A drugs. He admitted that he had supplied the drugs. He was charged and is currently serving four years imprisonment.

'There wasn't evidence to show that there was drugs forced upon Charlotte. He was simply charged with supplying the drugs.'

Pathologist Dr Alison Armor said the medical cause of Miss Wade's death was 'complex drug misuse.' She said: 'In her blood was morphine, heroin and its metabolites, cocaine and its metabolites and gabapentin.

'Gabapentin is a prescribed drug but also a drug which is frequently abused. It is abused to enhance the effects of heroin. There was an amount of morphine found in her blood which was fatal on its own. There was also a large amount of cocaine that was fatal in its own.'

McDonald was arrested after Miss Wade's death but he skipped bail in February and went on the run. He was re-arrested the following April after the teenager's family launched a campaign on social media to track him down. He was jailed last May at Preston Crown Court.

Recording a verdict of drug related death, Coroner Richard Taylor said: 'Firstly I would like to offer my condolences for something that has been going if for almost a year now. All I have to do is return a conclusion on how Charlotte met her death.

'I simply have to return a factual conclusion on what happened. There was no evidence, or no sufficient evidence that drugs were forced upon her or there would have been different charges brought at Preston Crown Court the conclusion I give is one of a drug related death, and that she ingested excess drugs.'

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