Woman whose daughter died from MDMA starts ‘friendship’ with dealer’s mum

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A devastated mum of a 15-year-old girl who died after taking ecstasy has developed an "unlikely friendship" with the mother of the boy who supplied the fatal drug to her.

Leah Heyes died after taking a fatal dose of MDMA in a car park in Northallerton, North Yorkshire in 2019. The drugs were supplied by Connor Kirkwood, then 17, who brought them into the town as part of a County Lines gang.

Connor, from Dishforth, was jailed for 21 months last year but after serving six months of his sentence he was released on good behaviour, the BBC reported.

Now, his mother and Leah's mother have teamed up to raise drugs awareness among young people, with Kerry Roberts, Leah's mum, saying: "Leah died and I can't let that be for no reason."

The mothers were introduced to each other through restorative justice, but Ms Roberts did not want to meet Connor.

Ms Roberts said: "People will look at us and think it's an unlikely friendship.

"People will see us as two separate things but we are both grieving. They are both our children."

Ms Kirkwood described how Conor got lured into a gang and, from the age of 15, went from being a "presentable young man" to "wearing trackies and not speaking to anyone".

During sentencing last year, Teesside Crown Court heard how Kirkwood sold the drugs to Mitchell Southern, described as the "go-between" between the dealer and local teenagers.

"I thought where have I gone wrong? How did this happen? What did I do?" Ms Kirkwood said.

"And there's the guilt of my child being involved in someone else's child losing their life.

"I lost the child that had a passion for sport, was always smiling. I don't see a smile anymore. I have this 19-year-old man. I don't know who he is. I get to see him in bed and why do I get that?

"That's my guilt because that's not fair."

Ms Roberts said she was initially opposed to the idea, because of a hatred for the situation.

"There was hatred for Connor, for the situation. I thought how is it going to do me any good? I have nothing to say to her," she said.

"I've read about county lines and there's more of an understanding and I'm thinking he was a child, he was 15. He wasn't a 21-year-old dodgy drug dealer," she added.

County Lines is where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, often across police and local authority boundaries, usually by children or vulnerable people who are coerced into it by gangs, the National Crime Agency state.

The 'County Line' is the mobile phone line used to take drug orders.

Ms Roberts said: "I feel like if we've told our story and tried to educate people then we can't do much more."

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  • Drugs
  • Family
  • Crime

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