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London - A university lecturer could be charged with the manslaughter of a schoolgirl who died after taking two ecstasy tablets during a party at his house.
The inquest into Isobel Reilly, 15, was halted yesterday by a coroner who said evidence which had come to light during the hearing could incriminate Brian Dodgeon.
The 61-year-old academic and his partner, Angela Hadjipateras, allowed their 14-year-old daughter to hold a party for 30 friends as the couple socialised overnightabout 96 km away.
During the house party in north Kensington, London, four of the schoolchildren swallowed pink ecstasy tablets they found in Mr Dodgeon’s bedroom closet.
Isobel collapsed after taking two tablets and could not be revived.
Mr Dodgeon pleaded guilty to four charges of possessing drugs including ecstasy, LSD and ketamine. He was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for two years last December.
Unable to live with the guilt, a week after Isobel’s death in April last year he tried to commit suicide by jumping off a flyover. He survived despite suffering several broken bones and needing brain surgery.
He and Miss Hadjipateras may now face charges of manslaughter on the grounds of gross negligence after coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox ordered a transcript of evidence heard at the inquest to be sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Dr Wilcox said: “It is with an extremely heavy heart that I apply my duty to adjourn these proceedings because in my view it is likely that a charge of gross negligence manslaughter could be brought against Mr Dodgeon and Miss Hadjipateras.
“The evidence, which I have reflected on, heard yesterday [Wednesday], is different to the evidence that the CPS initially considered.” She went on to highlight five issues of concern.
“We heard on Thursday that the drugs were readily accessible, that Miss Hadjipateras and Mr Dodgeon already knew teenagers at parties in their house could behave as teenagers do,” she said.
“They knew that even when they were present, teenagers got drunk, they knew that previously their cannabis stash in their home had been found and I have concerns that supervision of the party was inadequate at best.”
On the night of the party, the couple were staying in Hastings, East Sussex. They had asked family friend Camilla Mujica, who lived opposite them, to be on standby in case anything happened.
Paula Sparks, representing Isobel’s family, said “they had very serious concerns about the issues that had been raised”.
Dr Wilcox is also trying to establish if Isobel could have been saved if an ambulance had been called earlier after she suffered a shaking fit and was foaming at the mouth. Her family consider this to be a key issue.
On Wednesday, the opening day of the inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court, it emerged that Isobel, from Acton, west London, had suffered an adverse reaction to the drugs but had urged her friends not to call an ambulance because she was afraid of getting into trouble.
Isobel was pronounced dead in hospital at 6.30am on April 23, hours after paramedics had arrived. She died of MDMA poisoning, the inquest heard.
Mr Dodgeon, who was a research fellow at the University of London’s Institute of Education, had been due to give evidence yesterday but never got the chance.
A CPS spokesman said: “If the coroner sends something to us we will look at it.” - Daily Mail