Leeds University student abandoned by friends to die next to bins after lethal drugs cocktail

A Leeds University student was abandoned by friends to die next to some bins after a drugs overdose, an inquest heard.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 28th February 2014, 2:32 pm
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Editorial image

Dentistry student Mariam Ali Shaabam Hussain Khesroh took a lethal cocktail as she celebrated finishing her finals in April last year.

Despite being in a group when she started to have trouble breathing during a night out in Harrogate, no-one sought medical help.

Instead the 24-year-old was abandoned until it was too late.

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Detective Sergeant Steve Menzies, of Harrogate CID, said: “Mariam was dragged to the rear of the building and left behind some bins. There was a further hour-and-a-half delay before an ambulance was called.”

The inquest heard that Miss Khesroh, who was originally from Kuwait, had travelled to Harrogate on April 9 after her last exam.

She became ill after taking ketamine and heroin and was found dead off Lancaster Park Road the following morning.

She may have survived if she had received medical help sooner.

Assistant Coroner for North Yorkshire, Geoff Fell, recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Miss Khesroh’s family later collected her degree on her behalf at a ceremony at Leeds University.

No-one faced criminal charges in connection with her death.

Now Mr Fell and North Yorkshire Police have joined forces to call on people not to put off calling 999 when someone falls ill after taking drugs.

They say police will not be called to a suspected drugs overdose unless there are suspicious circumstances or paramedics need police assistance.

Mr Fell said: “As this tragic case highlights, time is a crucial factor in cases involving the misuse of drugs and any delay in calling for medical assistance can mean the difference between life and death.

“Our main concern is that people receive the care that they need as quickly as possible. Therefore an agreement was introduced in 2007 which means that emergency health workers will not routinely call the police in the event of an apparent drugs overdose.”

Det Sgt Menzies added: “This is a very sad case in which a celebration turned into a tragedy. Mariam was about to embark on a career in dentistry. Unfortunately having just passed her final exams she was never aware that she had her passed her degree.

“The two people in her company were aware of her troubled breathing after she took a cocktail of drugs but no medical assistance was sought. I would expect that most people’s thoughts would have been to get her emergency medical assistance, especially as Harrogate Hospital A and E was directly across the road to Brandon Lodge.”

He added: “This is a prime example of the serious dangers of taking illicit drugs. I was dismayed to hear a number of witnesses talk in a blasé way about the use of ketamine as a ‘party’ drug. This drug is a horse tranquiliser and unfortunately the misuse of this drug has contributed to the death of Mariam. We also heard evidence from one witness who knew of another person who had died after using ketamine.”