Mum’s fight for Jimmy’s Law

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Stanhope Fire -

A mother who is con­vinced her son died from le­gal highs launched a web­site this week warn­ing oth­ers of the dan­gers of the law­ful ‘drugs’.

Karen Audino spoke as po­lice con­firmed that syn­thetic cannabis was found in 20-year-old Jimmy Guichard’s room as lay un­con­scious.

Jimmy’s fam­ily de­cided to turn off his life-sup­port ma­chine af­ter he suf­fered a heart at­tack at his Gravesend home in Oc­to­ber.

His mother Karen Audino claimed empty plas­tic bags found be­side him were ev­i­dence he took the le­gal highs shortly be­fore his death. She is now call­ing for a to­tal ban.

She said: “I was told there were two pack­ets by him. One was empty and one was full. His dad had said he had gone into Chatham that morn­ing to pur­chase them.”

The young­ster’s post-mortem, re­leased in Novem­ber, re­vealed there were no traces of al­co­hol or il­le­gal drugs in his sys­tem.

Po­lice have told her the sub­stance found in his room was syn­thetic cannabis.

His mother, who has been l iv­ing in North­ern Ire­land af­ter mov­ing from Hextable in 2005, is strug­gling to come to terms with los­ing her only son.

She said: “It’s ab­so­lutely heart­break­ing to think that some­thing that just any­one can walk in and buy from a shop, as if they’re buy­ing sweets and a news­pa­per, can do this.

“My life has changed be­yond recog­ni­tion. Some days are bet­ter than oth­ers and some days are ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble. We’ve just had Christ­mas and New Year and it was very, very poignant that there was an empty chair at the ta­ble.” The 42-year-old has since set up a Face­book cam­paign, Le­gal Hi g h Aware­ness and Preven­tion. She has also launched a web­site called Jimmy’s Law in or­der to share her son’s story and raise aware­ness of the ef­fects of le­gal highs.

She said: “I want a com­plete ban on the shops sell­ing them.

“My son is not go­ing to be a num­ber, he’s not go­ing to be a statis­tic. Some­thing good has to come out of this.”

Matt Ford, 17, is all too fa­mil­iar with the pain caused by le­gal highs af­ter he was left just min­utes from death fol­low­ing a heart at­tack.

The teenager, for­merly of Whit­stable, was left shak­ing, foam­ing at the mouth, un­able to move or speak and suf­fer­ing from blurred vi­sion af­ter tak­ing a bong of Ex­o­dus Damna­tion. Within min­utes he was be­ing rushed to hos­pi­tal.

He said: “I re­mem­ber when the paramedics were there, ev­ery time I closed my eyes all I could see was a dragon-like, devil sort of fig­ure. Ev­ery time I had my eyes open it was just hor­ri­ble.

“If I’d have known it would have hap­pened I’d never have sug­gested buy­ing the stuff.”

He and his friends bought the sub­stance from UK Skunkworks in Can­ter­bury, de­spite be­ing un­der­age – a mat­ter the com­pany was pre­vi­ously un­avail­able to com­ment on.

The for­mer Can­ter­bury Col­lege stu­dent said: “I want them banned. They are hor­ri­ble.”

Mr Ford is now wor­ried about his health.

He said: “I’ve done il­le­gal drugs and le­gal highs but no il­le­gal drug has ever come any­where near as dan­ger­ous as that.”

Mum Karen Audino

Jimmy Guichard shortly be­fore his death

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