Two teenagers who supplied a 15-year-old schoolgirl with a fatal dose of MDMA for just £10 have been jailed after one of them warned “yous are going to end up f***ed up on this.”
Mitchell Southern, 19, and Connor Kirkwood, 18, sold Leah Heyes the Class A substance on May 11 last year in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.
Leah, who had her “whole life ahead of her”, consumed two ‘bombs’ in a car park before becoming “unpredictable” and “volatile”, a court heard.
She was rushed to hospital but tragically died that evening after going into cardiac arrest.
Leah’s mother paid a heartbreaking tribute to her daughter whose death left a “huge hole” in their lives which will “never be filled”.
She warned others to realise the “deadly consequences” of taking drugs.
Teeside Crown Court heard Southern was friends with Leah and sourced the drugs from Kirkwood, a dealer, on her behalf.
Southern, from Thirsk, North Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine and ecstasy while Kirkwood, from near Ripon, admitted supplying ecstasy.
Appearing in the dock, they were jailed for 12 and 21 months respectively.
The court heard Southern was out with Leah and a group of other youngsters on the day of May 11, 2019.
Prosecutor Victoria Lamballe told the court they congregated in a car park where they were joined by Kirkwood, who was friends with Southern.
The court heard Southern then acted as a “go between” by taking money from Leah, exchanging it with Kirkwood for MDMA and then passing the drugs to Leah.
Leah and another girl gave Southern £20 and in return received MDMA rocks or crystals in a sealed bag, Ms Lamballe said.
Southern then prepared the drugs for consumption by wrapping them in smoking rizla and tying them at the top, which is described as a ‘bomb’.
He then passed two bombs to the girls and, according to a witness, told them “yous are going to end up f***ed up on this.”
A short time later Southern made another ‘bomb’, which Leah swallowed not long after the first, the court heard.
Ms Lamballe said: “Some time after consuming those drugs it became clear Leah was reacting badly to them.
“She became volatile and unpredictable.”
The prosecutor told the court CCTV operators observing the car park directed police officers to the scene at around 9pm.
Leah’s condition was said to have deteriorated rapidly and, although she was transported to hospital, the teenager died that evening.
Both suspects were arrested within the next 48 hours and admitted the charges against them at the earliest opportunity.
The court heard Southern was not a drug dealer but that Kirkwood was actively working as one and had attended the car park on the day in question with the “sole purpose” of selling drugs.
His Honour Judge Jonathan Carroll, sentencing, said: “This case is tragic, truly tragic. First and foremost tragic for Leah Heyes.
“She was just 15 years old, she had everything to live for, excitement that’s rightfully held by young people in anticipation of their futures.
“All that hope and aspiration for the future has been extinguished because of the evil that drugs represent in our society.
“It’s become fashionable, particularly among the youth who perhaps have that perception that because they’re young they’re indestructible, that drugs are fun, that drugs don’t really cause any harm and add excitement to life.
“This case is here to remind anybody and everybody that might think that that drugs destroy lives.
“They take away young people’s lives and destroy your lives and your futures.
“There is no safe drug, there is no safe amount of a drug and anybody who thinks otherwise is just wrong and that is why cases like these call for deterrent sentences, to send out that message.”
The court heard Leah was a “much-loved” daughter to mum Kerry Roberts and aspired to a career in health and beauty.
Kerry was three months pregnant at the time of her daughter’s death and, it was heard, Leah was “looking forward” to meeting her new sibling.
An inquest into Leah’s death last week heard the teen died after taking a “double toxic” dose of ecstasy and going into ‘rapid cardiac arrest’.
Following the inquest Kerry, who was in court today, issued a warning about drug use.
She said: “I think people need to think and realise how dangerous it is, it’s not just a bit of fun with your friends.
“It causes serious damage for families.
“I think parents don’t know how easy it is for kids to access this and how cheap it is.
“It takes something bad to happen for people to take it seriously.”
Kerry said she misses her every day, and warned others to realise the “deadly consequences” of taking drugs.
She said: “We miss Leah every day, her death left a huge hole in our lives that can never be filled.
“No sentence can ever change that, but what we do wish for, is for young people to realise the deadly consequences of taking drugs.
“That adults are not just saying they are dangerous to spoil your fun, but that you truly understand how dangerous they are.
“You have your whole life ahead of you, please don’t risk losing it. If Leah’s death has not made you think twice, what will?
“I would not want any other family to go through the devastation of losing a child in such horrendous and needless circumstances.
“She went out to spend time with her friends and have fun that night. And she never came back.
“We’ll never see her again, we’ll never speak to her again, her baby sister will never know her.
“To parents I urge you to really know what your children are doing, find out more about the dangers of drugs and don’t think that just because your children tell you they don’t take them, that they really don’t.”
Detective Inspector Eamonn Clarke of Northallerton CID, said: “Our thoughts remain with Leah’s family at this time.
“Her death was an absolute tragedy that has left a family devastated and the local community in shock.
“We plead with parents to make sure they know what their children are doing and to educate them on the harm that drugs can cause, and there is no greater harm than the death of a young person who had her whole life ahead of her.”