In the Media

University lecturer whose drugs killed teenage girl given suspended sentence

PUBLISHED December 2, 2011

Isobel Jones-Reilly, 15, overdosed after finding ecstasy belonging to Brian Dodgeon at party organised by his daughter

A university lecturer who admitted possessing class-A drugs after a schoolgirl overdosed at his house has been spared jail.

Isobel Jones-Reilly, 15, died in April after taking ecstasy at an unsupervised party at Brian Dodgeon's west London home.

Dodgeon, 61, had a stash of party drugs ? ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and a psychedelic drug known as Foxy Methoxy ? hidden in a wardrobe in his bedroom, but said he never thought the teenagers would find it. He was given an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years, at Isleworth crown court.

About a week after the incident, Dodgeon tried to kill himself by leaping from a bridge over the North Circular road in Walthamstow, east London. He required brain surgery after fracturing his skull and broke numerous bones, including a femur, an elbow and a heel.

Passing sentence, Judge Andrew McDowall told Dodgeon: "The worst punishment you can have is one that will last for the rest of your conscious life ? the knowledge that because of the possession of these drugs and your failure to keep them secure from teenage experimentation has resulted in a death. You know that and it is obviously a burden on you.

"The failures of communication between parents and teenage children are very often the subject of humour. But the failures of knowledge and communication sometimes have terrible results, as happened here."

The judge imposed a six-month curfew order requiring the lecturer to be at home between the hours of 9pm and 7am, told him to pay ?150 towards the prosecution's costs and ordered the destruction of the drugs.

Dodgeon, a research fellow at the University of London's Institute of Education, and his partner, Angela Hadjipateras, went away for the night on 22 April, leaving their daughter, Beatrice, 14, alone at their home in north Kensington, the court heard.

They knew she had used Facebook to organise a party, which was attended by about 30 young people who drank cider, wine and spirits, and smoked marijuana. Beatrice told partygoers she had previously found a stash of cannabis in her father's drawer, and three of the teenagers went to an "out-of-bounds" bedroom to find some more.

They discovered a canister containing a selection of drugs in capsules, plastic containers and bags.

Isobel, a pupil at Chiswick community school in west London, took two ecstasy tablets.

The teenager suffered adverse effects from taking the drug but would not let her friends call an ambulance for fear of getting into trouble. She stopped breathing and her friends could not find a pulse. They finally dialled 999 and attempted to perform mouth-to-mouth and CPR.

Isobel, from Acton, west London, was taken to St Mary's hospital in Paddington but was pronounced dead at 6.30am on 23 April. Beatrice and two 14-year-old boys also needed hospital treatment after the party.

Dodgeon told police in an interview that he was a recreational drug user and described himself as an "old hippie". The lecturer, a former social worker whose research subjects have included health inequalities and alcohol consumption patterns, said it had "never crossed his mind" that someone would find the drugs, which were valued by prosecutors at between ?735 and ?2,435. © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds