Drug death of former Birchwood High School pupil should be lesson to others (From Warrington Guardian)
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Drug death of former Birchwood High School pupil should be lesson to others
3:08pm Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
A CORONER says the death of a Warrington man - who took a drug commonly known as "pink ecstasy" or "doctor death" - should act as a warning to others.
Bolton Coroner Jennifer Leeming told an inquest today, Tuesday, others should learn from the deaths of Christopher Goodwin, aged 30, a former Birchwood High School pupil and 21-year-old Emma Johnson, who both died after taking a cocktail of drugs during a night out in Bolton.
An inquest into their deaths heard they had taken PMA believing they were taking amphetamines, also an illegal drug.
Mrs Leeming said: “The risks those young people have taken unknowingly. Nothing that happened was in any way intentional.
"They are raking risks with their lives. Don’t do it, don’t let others do it.”
Bolton Coroners Court heard that both Mr Goodwin - a former player at Culcheth football team Daten FC - and Miss Johnson, who had been out with a group of friends, became ill after taking drugs in the early hours of Sunday, April 28.
They had been at The Bar in Nelson Square and J2 in Mawdsley Street, Bolton, before returning to Ashley Pilling’s home in Buttermere Road, Farnworth.
While at the house they took cocaine. They had both also had cocaine earlier in the night, according to witnesses.
At about 6am on Sunday morning, Miss Johnson and Stacey Feathers went to Mr Goodwin’s home in Littlebrook Close, Tonge Moor.
At Mr Goodwin’s house the friends took what they believed to be amphetamines and soon after felt very hot and reacted to the drug.
Miss Feathers said she felt spaced and hot, unlike when she had taken the drug previously.
She said: “Chris brought the fan from upstairs because we were feeling hot. Emma was feeling the effects of from it more than I was.”
A statement read to the court heard Miss Pilling was called to collect the women as Miss Johnson was feeling unwell.
Miss Pilling said: “Emma was in a bad way - I was worried about her. I took her to my house. I didn’t know what to do - I thought she needed to sleep it off.
"She was saying she was alright and that she just needed to go home.”
The court heard she was seen by housemates of Mr Goodwin to be making strange noises. rolling off the sofa and “flicking” her legs.
Miss Johnson then collapsed. She was pronounced dead after attempts to revive her by paramedics and hospital staff failed at about 2.05pm.
Miss Pilling told Ann Johnson, Miss Johnson’s mother, that she did not take her home or to her grandparents’ home because she did what she thought was right and had never experienced anything like it before.
Michael Boland, a housemate of Mr Goodwin, became concerned about his friend after hearing a loud bang from his bedroom after the women had left.
Mr Goodwin, who has a son and worked as a welder, had broken his bed and was unwell.
Mr Boland said: “I told them they needed to get Emma an ambulance. I said: 'you need to get her an ambulance or something, she is a mess'.
"She just looked like she was high. When you say get an ambulance it’s sometimes a figure of speech rather than meaning it."
When he realised his friend was unwell he woke up his other housemates to see what they should do. Mr Goodwin declined offers to call an ambulance.
Mr Boland said: “You think you can ring the ambulance or the police at the time but you don’t want to get them into trouble. Obviously we should have rang the ambulance sooner.”
Andrew Reeve, another housemate of Mr Goodwin and colleague of Miss Johnson, who worked at Serco in Manchester Road, said he has not taken drugs since his friends’ death.
He said: “After seeing something like that you have got to learn. We will never learn until you go through something like that.
"You think it will never be you. I haven’t touched those sort of drugs since.”
Pathologist David Bissett, from the Royal Bolton Hospital, found traces of cocaine, amphetamines and Viagra in Mr Goodwin’s body.
Miss Johnson had traces of alcohol, cocaine and amphetamines.
They were both found to have high levels of PMA. Mr Goodwin was found to have 2.81mg per litre and Miss Johnson 1.81mg per litre. Levels above 0.3mg can cause significant harm.
He said nothing could have been done to reverse the effects if an overdose had been taken.
Det Insp Chris Walker, from Bolton CID, said: “People need to know about the perils of combining drugs — you never know what you are getting. There’s no quality control. It’s rife and it will happen again and again.”
He said no prosecutions had taken place in relation to the two deaths, and said there was no evidence of Miss Johnson being mistreated despite her being found with a catalogue of minor injuries.
Mrs Leeming recorded a verdict accidental death caused by misuse of drugs for both Miss Johnson and Mr Goodwin.
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