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By Mark Duell and Amanda Williams
PUBLISHED: 16:14 GMT, 10 June 2013 | UPDATED: 15:22 GMT, 11 June 2013
Lee Webster, 26, tipped 27 mirtazapine tablets into Jason Wood’s beer
- Did it when 4ft man left room to go to toilet during a drinking session
- Wood then said ‘my beer tastes funny’, but Webster told him to drink it
- He denied manslaughter but has today been jailed for five years
Lee Webster tipped a lethal 27 mirtazapine tablets into Jason Wood’s beer can when he left it to go to the toilet
A drinker who killed his dwarf friend by spiking his beer with a month’s dose of anti-depressants as a ‘joke’, has today been jailed for five years.
Lee Webster tipped a lethal 27 mirtazapine tablets into Jason Wood’s beer can when he left it to go to the toilet.
Mr Wood, 30, who was 4ft tall and weighed just six stone, noted his beer ‘tasted funny’ when he returned but downed the drink when Webster told him it was fine.
He died three hours later.
Webster, 26, kept quiet about lacing the drink with the 30mg pills until a month later when he confessed to his father.
He also told his sister Stephanie he had spiked the drink during the drinking session in Ramsgate, Kent because he ‘thought it would be a laugh’.
Webster, of Gravesend, denied manslaughter but was convicted in less than an hour by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court.
Judge Philip Statman jailed him for four and a half years for manslaughter and a further six months for perverting the course of justice.
He told him: ‘Jason Wood was a comparatively young man and his life was tragically cut short. You were his friend.
‘Nobody suggests for one moment you had any desire to end his life. At the time you were an experienced user of the prescribed Mirtazapine.
‘You knew what the effects of Mirtazapine were as a regular user of the drug.’
Webster said that he and Mr Wood were good friends and he would stick up for the dwarf against bullies.
Webster also said he had given the victim somewhere to live, as well as lending him money and cooking for him.
Oliver Saxby QC, defending, said Webster had consumed ‘enormous amounts’ of Mirtzapine in the past and survived and assumed it was not dangerous.
He said he later took an overdose and needed hospital treatment as he began to realise the consequences of what he had done.
The QC said: ‘These were three friends who were under the influence of alcohol and there was some messing about here.’
Fellow drinker Steve McNamara, 29, was jailed for six months for perverting the course of justice but because of time spent on remand was due to be released immediately.
He admitted the offence after suggesting to Webster to dispose of the pill bottle after Mr Wood’s death last October.
He told police: ‘I feel bad and I feel guilty for what I have done, because at the end of the day Jason was my friend and I didn’t mean to kill him.
‘It was just something stupid when we was all drunk and got too out of control.’
Following Webster’s conviction Mr Wood’s family released a statement, which read: ‘The family of Jason Wood are pleased that a verdict has been reached.
‘The past seven months have been very difficult for the family. Knowing that justice has been served will help to give us peace. We ask you to now let us grieve in private.
‘Jason was a happy, caring and fun-loving son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend to many. He is sadly missed by all.
‘We would like to thank everyone who has supported us over this very difficult time.’
Speaking after the sentencing, investigation officer, Detective Inspector Chris Carter from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: ‘Although Lee Webster never intended to kill or harm Jason Wood, he was responsible for his death.
‘Spiking, or secretly putting drugs or substances into someone else’s drink should not be considered ‘fun’ or a joke.’