A teenager who supplied class A drugs which killed her friend has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.
Francesca Somers, who shook her head and mouthed “sorry” to the public gallery as she was sent down, gave Daniel Gill what she believed to be ecstasy pills in exchange for money at his home.
Derby Crown Court heard that Daniel, 19, of Chapel Street, Leabrooks, had become “extremely poorly” and later died, despite desperate attempts by his mother, paramedics and hospital staff to save him.
Later, police discovered the pills were not in fact ecstasy but contained para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA) – a highly toxic class A controlled drug.
A statement by Daniel’s mother, Michaela Gill, was read out in court. She said she “felt Daniel’s heartbeat for the last time and his last breath leave his body”.
Her statement continued: “I have had to live with the guilt of not being able to help him. I felt his spirit leave his body.”
Unknown to Mrs Gill, Daniel, Somers and other youngsters had taken the drugs that day, on January 18.
One of Daniel’s friends had called Mrs Gill to help as her son lay unconscious on his bed, but it was too late.
Sentencing Somers, Recorder Nirmal Shant QC said: “This is a tragic case which clearly demonstrates the devastation that follows when youngsters think they can safely dabble in drugs.
“A young man – Daniel Gill – has lost his life and nothing I can do or say in terms of sentencing can ease that family’s anguish or pain.”
Recorder Shant said she sentenced Somers on the basis that the 19-year-old, of Stanley Street, Somercotes, was a regular supplier of class A drugs for payment to people she knew to be drug-takers.
She added: “You did not know PMA was in the tablets that you dished out that evening and as a consequence of that you could not have known death would follow as a consequence of PMA, but death is an aggravating fact of this case.”
However, she said she was not sentencing Somers for causing Daniel’s death.
Chris Hallas, for Somers, said: “This defendant has asked me to say as little as possible on her behalf. She doesn’t want anything said that might be misinterpreted and cause offence to the family.”
He added that Somers had known Daniel since the age of five and had seen him daily before his death.
Following the hearing, Mrs Gill said she would say to people who were intending to take drugs: “Once it’s in your system you cannot get it out, so don’t try it in the first place.”
Tests revealed that the levels of PMA in Daniel’s blood were consistent with concentrations that caused death.
Witnesses said they believed Daniel had taken a number of pills that day.
Anyone with concerns about drugs can visit www.doyouknowwhatsinit.org.
If you have information about drugs in your community you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.