The Daily Telegraph

18-year-old freshers’ deaths linked to drugs

Po­lice search stu­dent flats and make 10 ar­rests af­ter three New­cas­tle stu­dents and man die over week­end

- By Martin Evans CRIME CORRESPOND­ENT

‘This week­end we have seen the tragic loss of four young lives’

‘We’re not hav­ing a nor­mal freshers’ ex­pe­ri­ence and some peo­ple are com­pen­sat­ing for that’

TWO 18-year-old fe­male stu­dents, who had just started at New­cas­tle Univer­sity, were among four peo­ple to die in the city af­ter tak­ing what are thought to be il­le­gal drugs, po­lice have said.

The girls, both freshers, were liv­ing in the same halls of res­i­dence when they be­came ill and died over the week­end.

Jeni Lar­mour, of County Ar­magh in North­ern Ire­land, who was in her first year study­ing ar­chi­tec­ture and town plan­ning, was named as one of the girls.

An­other stu­dent, a 21-year-old male un­der­grad­u­ate from Northum­bria Univer­sity, died over the week­end af­ter tak­ing what is be­lieved to be MDMA.

A fourth death, of an 18-year-old man in Washington, Tyne and Wear, has also been linked to the ef­fects of MDMA. Northum­bria Po­lice have made 10 ar­rests in con­nec­tion with the deaths and have car­ried out searches with drug dogs at univer­sity halls of res­i­dences.

Po­lice re­ceived a report at 6.05am on Satur­day that a woman was un­re­spon­sive at a Park View Stu­dent Vil­lage flat. Miss Lar­mour, who moved to New­cas­tle from North­ern Ire­land in Au­gust, was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

An 18-year-old man, un­der­stood to be a fel­low stu­dent, was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of sup­ply­ing a class B drug and has since been re­leased on po­lice bail.

The fol­low­ing day at 1.10pm, po­lice were called to the same build­ing where they found an­other 18-year-old woman who was pro­nounced dead at the scene.

An 18-year-old man was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of sup­ply­ing a con­trolled drug and re­leased on po­lice bail.

Po­lice car­ried out a num­ber of con­sent-based room searches at stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion with drugs dogs. Fur­ther pa­trols will be car­ried out to­day.

Ear­lier on Sun­day morn­ing, of­fi­cers were called to an ad­dress in Mel­bourne

Street in the city cen­tre to re­ports that a 21-year-old stu­dent from Northum­bria Univer­sity had taken ill.

The vic­tim, who is thought to have taken a quan­tity of MDMA, was taken to hos­pi­tal, but died a short time later.

A 20-year-old man held on sus­pi­cion of sup­ply­ing class A drugs was bailed.

The fourth sus­pected drug death oc­curred on Satur­day af­ter­noon when an 18-year-old man suf­fered a sus­pected car­diac ar­rest at a prop­erty on Couch Road Es­tate, Washington. The man, who is not a univer­sity stu­dent, was pro­nounced dead a short time later.

Seven peo­ple ar­rested over the in­ci­dent were re­leased un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Chief Insp Steve Wykes said: “This week­end we have seen the tragic loss of four young lives and our thoughts con­tinue to be with the fam­ily and friends of those who have sadly died. We want to re­it­er­ate our warn­ing against tak­ing drugs for recre­ational use. The con­se­quences could cost you your life.”

Mr Wykes said po­lice pa­trols would be in­creased in the ar­eas. He added: “If any­one has any in­for­ma­tion about who has sup­plied the drugs in ques­tion then we would also en­cour­age them to con­tact us at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity.”

A New­cas­tle Univer­sity spokesman said: “We are shocked and sad­dened to learn of the death of one of our stu­dents and our wel­fare teams are of­fer­ing sup­port to those af­fected.”

There are fears that a lo­cal lock­down has led young peo­ple into dan­ger­ous thrill-seek­ing be­cause their so­cial lives have been cur­tailed in the North East.

Stu­dents said drugs were read­ily avail­able through mes­sag­ing ser­vices such as Snapchat and What­sapp and there were rumours of a rogue batch of pills be­ing of­fered around the cam­pus.

One 18-year-old New­cas­tle Univer­sity stu­dent said: “I didn’t know the girl in­volved but she could only have been here a mat­ter of days, I only ar­rived on Fri­day. There’s been a real feel­ing of shock around the halls ever since, the at­mos­phere is very sub­dued.”

An­other stu­dent added: “Lock­down hasn’t helped the sit­u­a­tion. The pubs close at 10pm and peo­ple have been go­ing back to their flat in halls to con­tinue the party, which is what I heard hap­pened here. We’re not hav­ing a nor­mal freshers’ ex­pe­ri­ence and some peo­ple are com­pen­sat­ing for that.”

 ??  ?? Jeni Lar­mour, of County Ar­magh in North­ern Ire­land, right, was the fi­first first vic­tim to be named. Po­lice car­ried out room searches at the halls of res­i­dence, left
Jeni Lar­mour, of County Ar­magh in North­ern Ire­land, right, was the fi­first first vic­tim to be named. Po­lice car­ried out room searches at the halls of res­i­dence, left

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