Drug-fuelled party ends in tragedyComment on this story
A British schoolgirl who died after taking two ecstasy tablets at a house party had begged friends not to call an ambulance because she was worried about getting into trouble, an inquest heard on Wednesday.
Isobel Reilly, 15, was one of four friends who had taken pink ecstasy tablets they found in academic Brian Dodgeon’s bedroom closet while he was away.
The teenager later collapsed in a fit and began foaming at the mouth.
But despite falling ill, she pleaded with her friends not to call an ambulance because she had already been in trouble at school for taking drugs, it was said.
When she fell unconscious and stopped breathing, friends finally called an ambulance to the house in north Kensington, London, the inquest heard.
But when paramedics arrived they were unable to revive her. Isobel, known as Issy, was pronounced dead in hospital several hours later.
A post-mortem examination revealed she had an “extremely high” level of ecstasy in her body of 9.96mg per kg. Pathologist Dr Peter Wilkins said a dose of 0.18mg per kg could be fatal.
On the opening day of her inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court, Isobel’s mother Lynne Jones spoke of her shock at discovering that the house party was unsupervised. “I realise now that I was naive,” she said. “I never asked if adults were going to be there.
“I just can’t understand why people would leave children unsupervised. This is what feels so painful for us. We’ve gone over and over it since Issy died.
“We know young people put themselves in risky situations, particularly if there are no adults around and if they know no adults are coming back.
“I think it is pretty obvious so many things could have gone wrong and I’m not even thinking about drugs, but young people bringing in alcohol, older kids finding out and breaking into the house, and accidents happening.
“We are now talking about a situation where it was all night, not even parents going out for a few hours. I don’t think, at that age, it is safe to leave young children unsupervised.”
Around 30 teenagers, aged 14 and 15, were invited to the party in April last year. At 1am, when half of them had left, some of those remaining went in search of Mr Dodgeon’s supply of cannabis which they thought was in the house.
One boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, reached into a cupboard in Mr Dodgeon’s bedroom and pulled out a canister.
Instead of cannabis he discovered “numerous bags of pills and powder” inside.
He told the inquest: “Issy took one of the pills out of the bag and was looking at it. People were discussing taking them. I was against it as we didn’t know what they were.” Issy washed down one of the pills with beer and later told a friend that she had taken another one.
At first she seemed fine, but later became sweaty and kept pacing around in circles, it was said.
“Around 3am she was breathing heavily,” the friend added. “She was quite panicky. Her jaw was moving as well. I looked it up on the internet and thought it must be ecstasy. She started to get really hot and sweaty and went upstairs to lie down. We said should we call an ambulance but Issy said no.”
Mr Dodgeon, 61, later admitted the drugs in the closet, which included ecstasy, LSD and the horse tranquilliser ketamine, were his. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years last December. Unable to live with the guilt he tried to commit suicide by jumping off a flyover a week after Issy’s death but survived, breaking both his legs.
Mr Dodgeon was a research fellow at the internationally renowned Centre for Longitudinal Studies, part of the University of London’s Institute of Education.
The inquest continues. - Daily Mail