world : Schoolgirl died 'after taking cocaine and ecstasy'

world : Schoolgirl died 'after taking cocaine and ecstasy'
world : Schoolgirl died 'after taking cocaine and ecstasy'

Monday 1 July 2024 10:31 PM

Nafeza 2 world - A Londonderry schoolgirl died after taking drugs, including ecstasy, cocaine and synthetic amphetamine, a coroner has found.

Caitlin McLaughlin, 16, collapsed at the end of last year’s Belsonic music festival in Belfast's Ormeau Park.

She was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital but went into cardiac arrest shortly after her arrival and died.

Coroner Anne-Louise Toal described her death as devastating, adding that drugs are “a scourge on our society”.

Caitlin’s mother, Leanne, sobbed as she gave her evidence at the inquest at Bishop Street Courthouse in Derry on Monday.

She said her daughter’s death had left her with "a life sentence".

Leanne McLaughlin said she had last seen her daughter, who she described as "a quiet enough wee girl", on the morning of 24 June 2023.

She was going to a Belsonic concert in Belfast after sitting her GCSEs at St Cecilia's College in Derry.

Following her death, she was told that Caitlin had taken cocaine and "two wingers" (ecstasy tablets) on the bus on the way to the concert.

The coroner Anne-Louise Toal said illegal drugs were often mixed with other substances, including rat poison, and even one ecstasy tablet could be enough to kill someone.

Caitlin's death was as a result of going into cardiac arrest after taking ecstasy, cocaine and synthetic amphetamine, Ms Toal told the family.

Traces of all three drugs were found in Caitlin's body after her death, a forensic toxicologist told the hearing.

It was unclear how many ecstasy tablets Caitlin had taken but there were "no safe levels" of taking drugs, the coroner added.

A paramedic who was on duty on the night of the concert said he was called to the Ormeau embankment where a girl had been found unconscious.

It had taken medics only two minutes to get to the spot where she was lying; she had vomited multiple times and was unresponsive.

She was then taken by ambulance to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where she was handed over to staff before going into cardiac arrest.

The inquest was told she was pronounced dead less than two hours after the paramedics were called.

She said Caitlin had her whole life ahead of her after sitting her GCSEs and what should have been a "fun-filled night" ended in her death.

She said the schoolgirl had taken drugs some time before the concert and had collapsed near to where she was to get the bus home to Derry.

The coroner said Caitlin's death had caused devastation to her family and staff and pupils at St Cecilia's college.

A detective constable who investigated the death confirmed that a police file on the case had been submitted to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

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