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By Sam Webb
Jade Pemberton, 15, accidentally killed herself by taking anti-depressants for ‘fun’
- Jade Pemberton died after taking the drugs her friend stole from mother
- The 15-year-old looked ‘pale’ and her lips ‘turned blue’ after overdose
- She was found dead by her father who thought she’d fallen asleep
- Nervous system had slowly shut down due to the high amount of drugs
- Her friend admitted supplying drugs and received an absolute discharge
- Coroner warns all parents to lock prescriptions away from children
The youngsters then began to feel tired and Jade’s lips ‘turned blue’ as she fell asleep on the bus during the trip home.
She managed to get to the flat where she lived with father David Pemberton in Blackpool, Lancashire, but fell asleep again on the sofa after a brief conversation.
The following morning Mr Pemberton went to wake his daughter but got no response and called an ambulance.
The youngster was pronounced dead at the scene having died in her sleep. Tests showed her nervous system having slowly shut down due to the high amount of drugs in her system.
Inquiries revealed the friend, 15, – who cannot be named for legal reasons – stole prescription tablets from her mother’s medicine bag where they were kept to treat back pain.
She was was taken to hospital to be checked by medics but was discharged.
She later appeared before a youth court where she admitted supplying drugs.
At an inquest in Blackpool a coroner said the case served as a ‘reminder’ to parents who leave potentially dangerous medication within easy reach of youngsters.
The tragedy occurred on November 12 2012 after Jade visited a house during the day while her friend waited around a corner and returned with what she described as ‘happy pills’.
Both began swallowing the tablets and as the girls waited for a bus the friend said Jade tried to run in front of a vehicle but she pulled her back.
Then during the bus journey around the resort town the friend said Jade fell asleep and when she awoke she was ‘pale’ with ‘blue lips’.
Another teenage friend, who had been in contact with Jade that evening via text, told the hearing the 15-year-old had told her she had ‘taken an overdose’ and felt as if she might ‘pass out’.
Jade made it home at 10.30pm and Mr Pemberton said in a statement: ‘Within five or ten minutes of getting in the house she was asleep.
‘We didn’t have a conversation about where she had been.
‘She was making a snoring noise. It was very loud as if she was wheezy. I tried to wake her up at some point in the early hours. I asked if she was OK and she grunted. ‘I didn’t move the duvet or look at her. I thought she was OK.
‘At some point I fell asleep and was woken by the phone ringing. It was the school family liaison.
‘We had a 10am meeting. He said he was outside the flat so I went to let him in. I went to Jade and tapped her leg and in due course realised she was dead and called an ambulance.’
Police inquiries led to Jade’s friend and she was arrested. In her statement to police the girl, now 17, said: ‘Jade asked me about the (drugs) and I said they were for my mother’s for back pain.
‘She asked if she could have one. I said no but she took one.
‘Before we went to the bus stop Jade went in someone’s house and came back with happy pills. We both had some but Jade had more. I said yes to having them, I didn’t really like saying no to her.
‘While on the bus I woke up and Jade looked pale and had blue lips. She said she was cold. I gave her my jacket to help her to warm up and 20 minutes later she had her colour back.
‘She wasn’t thinking straight and was worried about what might happen taking that many pills. We just took them for fun.’
The hearing was told her friend escaped with an absolute discharge at a local youth court which means she will have no criminal record.
The girl’s mother said all her children knew where her medication was kept as she would ask them to get them for her when needed, but added she now kept them locked away following Jade’s death.
The mother said: ‘I was totally shocked by what happened. I never thought anything would happen.
‘Now they’re locked away.’
Recording a conclusion of death by misadventure, Blackpool coroner Alan Wilson said: ‘This inquest serves as a reminder to adults in terms of taking particular care in where they store medication within the home and a reminder as to what may happen if young people have the opportunity to get access to it.
‘We have heard there was missing tramadol in the mother’s property but how much is less clear. Why Jade took the medication needs to be addressed. It seems she was having difficulties for one reason or another.
‘But I am not in any way sure it was intended by her to take her life and I feel quite comfortable being satisfied to the standard.
‘The definition of misadventure is the unintended consequence of a deliberate act. In my judgement what she hasn’t intended is the consequence and she didn’t intend to die as a result.
‘Jade voluntarily ingested a large quantity of medication. She intended to take the tablets but did not intend to die.’