The London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association
latest news for 18 June 2013
|Show All » In the Media » General »|
Drugs are everywhere and 'glorified' say grieving parents - July-30-12
Source: The Telegraph (Hannah Furness)
The teenage daughter of a drugs counsellor died after taking ecstasy to impress a boy she had a crush on, a court has heard, as her parents blame peer pressure and "glorifying" drug websites for her loss.
Serena Harding, 16, suffered a fatal heart attack last August after taking a quarter of a gram of Class A MDMA while at a party with friends.
Her parents Diana and Kenny Harding have now urged other teenagers to learn from the tragedy, telling them: "Serena wouldn't want another teenager to die like she did and we wouldn't wish the grief we feel to be felt by anyone."
In a statement issued after the man who supplied the drug was jailed for two years, they criticised websites which "glorify" the effects of drugs and blame peer pressure for her decision.
Saying it was too easy for teenagers to get hold of drugs, they said: "You need ID for cigarettes and alcohol. Drug dealers don't ask for ID. They don't care how old you are.
"It's too easy for teenagers to get hold of drugs. Drugs are everywhere and somebody will always know somebody who will sell you some.
"Unfortunately there are websites where people talk openly about their drug habits and which drugs they like and don't like and glorify the effects."
Explaining their daughter rarely drank or went to parties due to suffering Crohn's disease, Mrs Harding, who provides holistic care for drug addicts, and her husband said: "Serena just wanted to be like everybody else her age.
"We believe Serena got out of her depth and gave in to peer pressure.
"Every day we ask ourselves `how can this be?' Serena filled all our hearts; she was so loving and caring and was sometimes wise beyond her almost 17 years.
"The tears we cry everyday are futile because she will never come home again."
Miss Harding, who was studying a fashion and design course in Warrington, Cheshire, took the drug with friends while celebrating her exam results on August 21.
Manchester Crown Court heard she had been encouraged to take it by Michael Millington, 19, who Serena knew well and had a "crush" on. A friend later said she had wanted to impress him.
She was found collapsed and struggling for breath Reddish Vale Park in Stockport, Greater Manchester and died in hospital at 10.50pm, shortly before her 17th birthday.
Police initially arrested four men aged 20, 19, 19 and 18 and a 25-year-old woman over the last summer's tragedy but two of the suspects were released without charge.
Today, Millington received a 12 month suspended sentence and 300 hours unpaid work for his involvement in the incident.
Thomas Donelan, 20, was sentenced to two years at a young offenders intuition for possession and supply of a Class A drug.
Dean Williams, 18, who handed over the money to Donelan for the drugs, received a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment and 250 hours unpaid work.
Sentencing them, Judge Maurice Green called all three "misguided individuals who believed and were part of a culture who believed that taking drugs such as Ecstasy and MDMA is harmless."
"This is a tragic case for all concerned, the greatest tragedy clearly is that resulting from the death of a 16 year old girl, Serena Harding," he said.
"It's impossible to quite understand the devastation that her family must feel as a result of losing that young girl.
"You three now clearly understand form what you've read and heard that these drugs are pernicious, they are not harmless.
"As a result of your involvement a young girl died."
Detective Sergeant Dave Jordan from Stockport CID called the death a "tragic and needless one", saying it was a "stark reminder that drugs are dangerous and can kill people".
« Go Back