Rachel ‘killed by jilted lover’

RACHEL WHITEAR, the 21-year-old student whose corpse was shown in a government anti-drug campaign, was killed by her jilted boyfriend, according to court documents.

Luke Fitzgerald is alleged to have administered a fatal dose of heroin and then attempted to “clean up the scene”, say documents submitted to the High Court in London.

Detectives reinvestigating her death have obtained statements from witnesses saying that Fitzgerald, a heroin addict, had been with Whitear when she died in a Devon bedsit. One witness said Fitzgerald had “confessed” to fatally injecting Whitear, who was previously assumed to have accidentally overdosed herself.

The High Court ruled this month that a fresh inquest into Whitear’s death must be heard, probably next year. The judges were told that the evidence is of “such significance” that it should be put before a coroner’s court.

The court documents also claim that officials connected with the first inquest, held seven months after her death in May 2000, failed to investigate it properly because they did not want to devote the necessary money and time, and were wary of the possible HIV risk attached to her body. The evidence suggests that, as an apparently drug-related fatality, Whitear was treated as a “second-class citizen” by the officials.

Whitear, a university student who became hooked on heroin after meeting Fitzgerald as a teenager, had split with him the day before her death, moving out of their shared flat in Exmouth and into a bedsit in the town.

She was found there three days later, her discoloured body in a crouching position on the floor clutching a syringe with the stopper inexplicably replaced on the end of the needle.

An inquest, however, was unable to give a cause of death and recorded an open verdict.

Toxicology tests showed that her blood contained a level of heroin too low to have been fatal and the coroner Richard Van Oppen reportedly said he was “certain” she had not died of an overdose.

Whitear’s mother and stepfather, Pauline and Michael Holcroft, nevertheless agreed to allow their daughter’s life story, and the shocking last image of her, to be made into a government-backed video to warn schoolchildren of the dangers of drug use.

Only when the coroner’s verdict was highlighted in the media in 2003, together with details showing that Fitzgerald had lied to police about his contact with her the day she died, were Wiltshire police ordered to reinvestigate the case by the Independent Police Complaints Authority.

Fitzgerald, 31, who has a conviction for assault, had initially told Devon and Cornwall police in 2000 that he had last seen Whitear the day before she died, when the couple argued on the beach about money he claimed she owed. Only when police interviewed Fitzgerald a second time, after the inconclusive toxicology tests, did he admit getting money from her on the morning she died. He insisted, however, that he had never been to her new address.

Three months into the 2003 reinvestigation Fitzgerald was arrested by Wiltshire detectives on suspicion of Whitear’s manslaughter, but was later released. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ruled there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against anyone in connection with the death. However, the court documents containing evidence compiled by Chief Superintendent Paul Howlett of Wiltshire police, and submitted to the High Court this month in a successful attempt to force a new inquest, show that the reinvestigation obtained significant evidence suggesting that Fitzgerald was indeed present when his former girlfriend died.

The court submission states that among the new evidence is “the existence of a witness who had a conversation with Rachel’s boyfriend in which he confessed to having injected Rachel and thereafter returned to her house to clean up the scene”. It adds that there is also “the existence of another witness who had spoken to Rachel’s boyfriend and as a result had formed the view that he was present when Rachel died”.

The police obtained statements from two people who said that Whitear’s landlord, Darren Tynan, had told them that he had heard someone “leave the house during the period relevant to Rachel’s death”. Tynan denied having said this when questioned by the police, although he did state that a packet of tobacco had gone missing on the afternoon she died.

Girl of 11 bought Heroin in £10 bags

An 11-year-old girl has received hospital treatment after collapsing from the effects of smoking Heroin.

The Primary 7 pupil, who cannot be named, appeared to fall asleep during lessons last week. Teachers suspected that she had unwittingly ingested drugs and she was taken to Yorkhill Children’s Hospital, in Glasgow.

But she later told doctors that she had been buying £10 bags of heroin, a class A drug, from a dealer near the city’s Pollok shopping centre for eight weeks.

Strathclyde police said an investigation had been launched. The news prompted condemnation from local politicians and anti-drugs campaigners.

“Clearly it is a great worry to find that any primary school child is using hard drugs,” said Ian Davidson, Labour MP for Glasgow South West.

“We need to identify whether this is a particular issue to this family or, more worryingly, if this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of this sort of drug use among classmates.

“Unfortunately there are large numbers of locations where drugs can quite freely be purchased, both in Pollok and elsewhere in the city.

“And we’ve got, perhaps, to concentrate more on sweeping up a lot of the low level dealers rather than constantly trying to catch the ‘Mr Bigs’ because it is the low-level dealers who cause the annoyance and irritation and fuel the use of drugs.”

Scotland Against Drugs has trained thousands of teachers and school heads to deal with children and parents who use drugs.

Its director, Alistair Ramsay, said: “Thankfully, incidents like this are very rare but when they occur they are truly shocking.”

But Cllr Gaille McCann claimed that the case was “not an isolated incident”.

She said: “This is the harsh reality of the drug problem today and it must not just become a seven-day story but instead act as a wake-up call to us all, particularly the policy-makers in their ivory towers.”

“They must look at the whole issue and the policies in place, from prevention and treatment to enforcement, because they have clearly failed this wee girl.”

Helen Hunter, the assistant director of Children 1st, a Scottish child welfare charity, said: “This is frightening. Clearly the people cruel enough to sell heroin to an 11-year-old girl need to be stopped. Just as importantly, however, you have to ask how an 11-year-old girl knew about buying and using drugs.”

Ecstasy Killed Boy Of 15

Courtesy Of The Evening Gazette Sep 27 2006

A 15-year-old schoolboy died after taking an overdose of ecstasy, a Teesside inquest heard.

Josh Butler, of Firbeck Walk, Thornaby, died on March 25, despite efforts to resuscitate him.

The hearing in Middlesbrough heard that the teenager had taken an excessive amount of the drug and did not appear to be aware of the consequences.

A man has been charged in connection with supplying the drug and is due to appear at Teesside Crown Court next month.

Josh was spotted unconscious in the entrance hall of Hudson House flats in Thornaby, surrounded by a group of others, by security guard Geoffrey Walker via CCTV.

Mr Walker called for an ambulance and the schoolboy was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where he was pronounced dead.

Mr Walker said Josh was with a group of men including Lee Dawson who lived in the flats.

Lee Dawson’s girlfriend Pamela Green told police the group arrived at their flat and appeared to be under the influence of drugs.

Home office pathologist Dr William Lawler said toxicology results had found Josh had taken around four times the amount of ecstasy than was usually taken recreationally.

This would have caused an irregular heartbeat resulting in death.

Teesside Coroner Michael Sheffield described Josh’s death as a “tragic situation”.

“Josh clearly did not realise how much people who use ecstasy usually take. Quite clearly he did not realise what taking this excessive amount what do to him.”

Mr Sheffield recorded a verdict of misadventure.


Unhappy New Year For Drug Dealers

Dealers who sell drugs near schools or use children as couriers could face stiffer penalties. This is one of a number of measures introduced by the Drugs Act 2005 which came into force on 1 January 2006 to target drug dealers.
Also included are powers for police to request x-rays of dealers suspected of swallowing Class A drugs and tougher sentences to foil
those who conceal drugs in their body cavities. The measures are part of the Government strategy to focus on the substances that are most harmful and deal severely with those who supply drugs.
The Drugs Act 2005 will also increase the maximum amount of time suspected ‘drug mules’ arrested by the police can be held in custody from 96 hours to 192 hours. This will allow time for drugs to pass through the suspects’ system.
The Government also announced that from 1 January 2006 Ketamine will become a Class C drug following the recommendation made in November 2005 by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)

Teenage Drug Runners Sell Heroin

Drug dealers are using children as young as 13 to sell crack cocaine and heroin on the streets of Newport.

Police in the Pill area of the city said that the problem is so bad that it is like an “open market” with teenagers openly selling drugs.

Officers have said that it is an on-going problem in the area, which is one of the most deprived in the city.

Detectives said when the teenage drug runners are arrested, they refuse to reveal the identity of the dealers.

“They will never ever tell us who they are working for,” said Pc Claire Fitzpatrick, crime and disorder reduction officer for Pill.

A boy could have 20 rocks of crack cocaine which is worth £700 and all he will deal all day “Pc Claire Fitzpatrick, Gwent Police said”

Young teenagers could regularly carry hundreds of pounds in cash from deals, she said.

And that is just one boy. You have different kids running in different patches across the area.

The runners are aged from 13 to about 20 when they either start dealing themselves with their own runners or whatever.


The problem with Pill was that it is very deprived area with 23 languages spoken and “in a way drug running is a way of life”.

“The kids go around in gangs, they know who the dealers are. And it often progresses that they either become (drug) users themselves or they become sellers.”

Pc Fitzpatrick identified several “drug hot spots” in the Pill area including Commercial Road, Francis Drive, Williams Close and Courtybella Terrace.

Addicts travel from outside the area to buy drugs

“The runners don’t tend to use drugs themselves and they don’t target other children,” she said.

They usually sell to addicts in their 20s and 30s. A lot of people travel down from the valleys to buy from them.

They give the money they make to the dealer and are paid a wage.

“To the kids it is good money – and when they are arrested they never let on who they are running for.”

She said Gwent Police was carrying out regular operations in the area to “disrupt the trade of drugs” and had taken three teenage runners off the streets only the other day.

Trouble makers

Local councillor Ron Jones said: “People living around here just want to get them out of here as quick as possible”.

They are quite openly dealing in the streets.

The thing is, the majority of the problems in Pill are caused by just a handful of kids and every time we hear about stuff like this happening in Pill, it just puts us back.

“People living around here are really keen to get rid of the trouble makers,” he added.