A judge has issued a warning after a 13-year-old who took heroin and cannabis had a cardiac arrest and died the next day.
Speaking at the sentencing of a woman who allowed Joshua Clark and a number of other children to smoke cannabis at her home, Judge James Sampson said that ‘if ever there was a case in which the dangers of illegal drugs was evident’, it was ‘this’.
Jennie Parker, 37, admitted allowing the drug to be smoked at her house in Bramcote.
However, her actions did not cause Josh’s death, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
The court was told that Josh had taken heroin before arriving at the house – where teenagers were using cannabis – on February 26 last year.
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Shortly before midnight, he became ill and later suffered a cardiac arrest. He died the next day.
The judge said that Joshua had ‘ingested opiates’ before going to her home where he ‘took cannabis and possibly alcohol’.
He added: ‘If ever there was a case in which the dangers of illegal drugs was evident, this is it. Drugs kill. They blight lives, they destroy families, they cause crime.
‘Where you find one drug, you probably find more than one drug. Where heroin exists, cannabis exists. Where cannabis exists, heroin exists.
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‘Those who are minded to liberalise drug laws could pay heed to that,’ said the judge, who told Parker that she created ‘an atmosphere in which it was permissible to take drugs’.
He said: ‘It must be emphasised from the outset you did not cause his death. What you did was allowed children as young as 13 to use cannabis in your home.’
The judge ordered her to obey a curfew from 7pm to 7am for three months and spend 30 days with probation officers on rehabilitation.
He added: ‘There will be no second chances. Think yourself very lucky indeed.’
Lisa Hardy, prosecuting, said that Parker did not supply cannabis but told the judge: ‘She let it be smoked.’
She usually insisted this should happen outside but added: ‘Sometimes she felt pressured to let them smoke indoors. They did it with her knowledge and apparent consent.’
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Esther Harrison, mitigating, said Joshua’s death was ‘the backdrop’ to the case, and Parker felt remorse over it.
Parker pleaded guilty to permitting cannabis to be used in her home between June 1, 2016, and February 27 last year.
Judge Sampson gave Parker a one-year prison term, suspended for 18 months.
He said this followed national guidelines, which he described as being ‘surprisingly low’.
An inquest into Josh’s death was opened and adjourned in May last year.
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