Queensberry curse strikes again as Marquess’s girl, 18, dies after heroin and cocaine binge
THE teenage daughter of the Marquess of Queensberry died at a house party after a two-day drug and alcohol binge, an inquest heard.
Lady Beth Douglas, 18, the youngest child of David Douglas, the 88-year-old 12th marquess, was found with needle marks in her arm.
Her boyfriend thought she had fallen asleep on a sofa but dialled 999 when he was later unable to revive her at the flat in Notting Hill, west London.
He discovered she had injected heroin, possibly for the first time. Tests also revealed cocaine and morphine in her blood.
Her father criticised detectives for failing to discover the identity of the dealer who gave her the drugs or even to contact other people who attended the party.
Beth’s death is the latest tragedy to befall a colourful aristocratic dynasty which has endured centuries of misfortune once labelled the ‘Queensberry curse’.
The 9th marquess played a leading role in the downfall of Oscar Wilde and he also gave his name to the official rules of boxing after endorsing changes to the sport in 1867 that largely put an end to bare-knuckle fighting. More recently, the family has a link by marriage to the family of Osama Bin Laden.
Beth, known to family and friends as ‘Ling Ling’, was the only daughter of the marquess’s third wife, Taiwanese artist Hsueh-Chun Liao.
She was a student and talented violinist but struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and was being treated for mental illness.
Westminster Coroner’s Court heard she died after going to a house party at the £2.5million Notting Hill flat in March.
Her boyfriend Jenan Karagoli, 21, said the pair had spent at least two days drinking and taking drugs while staying in hotels.
At the house party he went out to buy wine after she complained about drinking cognac. He returned to find her apparently asleep on a sofa where he joined her.
Mr Karagoli admitted she had asked him to obtain heroin for her. He said: ‘I really didn’t want to do it. She used to snort heroin back before I even knew her.
‘I said I didn’t know anyone. She made a phone call and said we were going to a party.’
Mr Karagoli, who had been taking anti-anxiety medication and cocaine, said he did not know who supplied the lethal drug.
‘She asked me to get her a bottle of red wine,’ he said. ‘When I came back I saw the person who lived there in a chair with a crack pipe. Ling Ling was asleep on the couch.’ Describing how he later tried to rouse her, he said: ‘I couldn’t wake her up. The man in the flat said she had taken heroin. I just picked up her arms and saw a little peck of dots.’
The inquest heard that Beth had been known to mental health services since the age of 13, when she started self-harming and had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act aged 17.
Lord Queensberry criticised police for failing to identify the dealer who gave his daughter the heroin and possibly helped her inject it.
He said: ‘There was mention there was a lot of drug-taking in this flat. I was concerned because in this flat where my daughter died, it seems to have been connected with the injection of heroin.
‘The owner of the flat is not here to make any statement. And the other people at the party, police haven’t contacted them. I am almost certain that this is the first occasion in which my daughter, who had taken a lot of drugs... but she had not had intravenous heroin before as far as I know.
‘No one takes their first intravenous injection of heroin without assistance. Someone helped her and nobody seems interested as to who that is.’
The inquest recorded Beth’s cause of death as a cardiac respiratory failure and cocaine and heroin poisoning.
Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe apologised to the family for being unable to ‘answer all of your questions’. She said: ‘It’s not possible to say what the cause of death was – cocaine ingestion, heroin ingestion or a combination of the two drugs.
‘The police found no needles or syringes. As far as they are concerned there is no further action they can take in this matter.
‘They have no evidence of any criminal act and they had no identification details for the couple who were there that evening.’
‘I couldn’t wake her up’
Troubled: Lady Beth Douglas was a talented violinist but struggled with drug addiction and mental illness
Infatuated: Oscar Wilde with his lover Lord Alfred Douglas, a member of the Queensberry family