Schoolgirl, 14, died at lockdown house party after taking MDMA

Schoolgirl, 14, died at lockdown house party after taking penny-sized amount of MDMA that she bought for £20 from the sale of her broken iPhone, inquest hears

A schoolgirl died aged 14 after selling her broken iPhone for £20 to buy a tab of ecstasy while escaping the one-bedroom flat where her entire family was trapped by Covid.

Jessica Hannah died less than three weeks after turning 14 when she massively overheated and suffered a heart attack after taking the drug ‘for a laugh’, an inquest heard today.

She had started to drink and smoke weed after being cooped up for weeks in a one bedroom flat with her two siblings, mother and mother’s partner during the first Covid lockdown.

An inquest heard that after being sent home from school because of the pandemic she started hanging around with another teenage girl, with whom she was smoking cannabis with.

Her mother Kirsty Hannah and the other girl’s mother were horrified that the children were using drugs and ordered both girls to stop.

Jessica (pictured) would normally have been at school when she went to the gathering near Scarborough Cricket Club

Emergency services were called to the property in Scarborough (pictured, a general view of the street) after Jessica started to feel unwell

Both parents were not sure if their warnings had been heeded and were unaware that the girls might dabble in any other kinds of drugs.

The girls lived in the seaside town of Scarborough, North Yorkshire, which at the time was cut off from the rest of the country due to the first Covid lockdown.

The tragedy began to unfold on the evening of May 19 2020 when Jessica told her pal she had sold her iPhone and expected to have the £20 the next day to buy Ecstasy.

When she told the other girl her plan, she said in a statement: ‘I did not know what to say. I don’t take drugs. I did not want any part of it.’

The following day Jessica contacted her friend by Facebook to say she had got the £20 and the two arranged to meet up.

Jessica then pulled something out of her coat pocket and showed her friend the tiny packet of MDMA crystals.

‘It was about the size of a 1p piece. She said they had cost her £20. I said she had been ripped off. She said she had not been,’ the friend’s statement continued.

Wanting no part in what would happen, the teenager went to a shop to buy a Fanta. When she came back with the orange drink Jessica had already taken the drug.

The girls were sitting on a bench with some pals near Jessica’s home in Trafalgar Street, near Scarborough town Centre, when Jessica started to feel very hot.

Jessica is survived by her healthcare assistant mother Kirsty (left), who is married to Zowie Hannah (right)

She poured the other girl’s Fanta all over herself to cool down and wanted to go for a walk. They stopped at a children’s play area where Jessica started messing around on the monkey bars.

‘She was hanging upside down by her legs and doing dangerous things. I was frightened. I thought she was going to fall and said not to do it,’ the friend continued.

As they walked down a path towards the seafront Jessica had to be guided. ‘She was falling over and kept stumbling into things,’ her friend said.

When they reached the seafront, Jessica, who was already so hot she had taken off her coat and was wandering around in her vest, clambered over the sea wall onto the rock armour.

She then began sliding across the rugged boulders in a desperate attempt to get down to the beach and the water.

At one stage, she fell and banged her head on the rocks as she stepped across the perilous shelf of boulders to reach the sands.

The friend continued: ‘She started stripping her clothes off. She was so hot she had sweat pouring off her. She went into the sea with her feet and we told her not to go out all the way,’

As the teen walked back towards the Marine Drive ‘she was walking with no shoes and falling all over the place. She was slurring her words and talking like a child.’

Later that afternoon, the group of friends returned to Jessica’s friends house, whose mother told the inquest: ‘She was on the bed on her back having some kind of seizure. Her hands were like claws. She was staring up at the ceiling. The size of her pupils was massive.

Two teenage boys have been arrested on suspicion of offences involving the supply of Class A drugs (file photo)

‘It was obvious she had taken some kind of drug. While waiting for an ambulance we helped put Jessica in the recovery position.’

The teenager was rushed to Scarborough Hospital where she died later the same evening despite frantic attempts to save her life.

Medics worked on her for 50 minutes with CPR and only gave up when it was obvious their efforts were futile.

A post mortem revealed traces of cannabis in her system but confirmed death was due to the toxic effects of Ecstasy.

Concluding the death was drug related, Coroner Jonathan Leach said: ‘Jessica’s death highlights the dangers of taking illicit drugs – particularly those bought on the street, where there is no indication what is being bought, the strength of it, or what effects it may have.

‘Sadly, Jessica has paid for it with her life.’

Barman’s daughter Jessica had only moved to the town 18 months earlier from Wolverhampton. She had been a student at Pinder School, but been sent to the town’s Pupil Referral Unit due to behaviour issues.

But Mrs Hannah, attending the hearing via a video link, believed her daughter had recently turned a corner and begun talking to her mother and mother’s partner about her problems.

She told the hearing: ‘It is devastating for me and the family. We miss her so much. She would not do anything to hurt herself like this.

‘She was trying things out like all teenagers do. But she should not have been given hard drugs. She was only 14 years old.’

Det Sgt Timothy Bentley, who investigated the death, said two males had been arrested and were facing charges involving the supply of Class A drugs.


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