Student 'feels sick and violated' after suspected spiking by injection at Nottingham nightclub

Reports of women being spiked by needles in nightclubs has led to renewed fears for women's safety. ITV News Midlands Correspondent Ben Chapman spoke to university student Sarah Buckle, who is believed to be a victim.

During what was supposed to be an exciting night out during Freshers' Week for university student Sarah Buckle, she woke up in hospital with no memory of how she got there and a throbbing pain in her hand.

The 19-year-old, who is studying at the University of Nottingham, later discovered she had likely been spiked via a needle to the back of her hand while out in a nightclub.

Sarah has spoken to ITV News about her "shock" and "disgust" at the suspected injection, as reports of women being spiked in the city - as well as in other towns and cities across the country - are on the rise.

Sarah and her friends on the night she was spiked in a Nottingham nightclub Credit: Sarah Buckle

The management student arrived at the club around 11pm on 28 September and described what happened next.

"From what my friends say, they thought I might have had too much to drink and there was no immediate concern.

"Then I stopped talking, went silent and stood up and almost collapsed.

"A member of staff came over and said 'is she OK?' and we were escorted out of the venue as I could not stand up. 

"Then in the taxi home I started being sick all over myself and my friends could sense something was wrong."

The suspected spiking has left Sarah Buckle feeling "violated" and "vulnerable"

Sarah's friends called an ambulance as she continued to be violently sick - she was taken to hospital where she woke up the next day with no recollection of the night before.

The only indication of what may have happened was the pain in her left hand. It had a puncture wound with a very distinct pinprick in the middle.

"My hand was throbbing really bad. I also knew I wasn't intoxicated on a stupid level or overly drunk," she told ITV News.

"I knew I had clearly been spiked but it would have never occurred to me it was via injection if my hand wasn't throbbing. I thought how? I never take a drink away from the bar.

"You think spiking is to do with your drink, you don't think something would go into your body."

Sarah was 'excited' to be back in Nottingham for a night out, having only just returned to begin her second year in university. Credit: ITV News

"I know needles carry a risk of awful diseases that can have life-long impacts such as hepatitis and HIV," Sarah said.

"It was going through my head thinking "what happens if I've contracted this?

And the trauma is ongoing: "They're still running tests so it's still really scary."

Sarah explains how she feels about nightclubs now

Sarah's experience appears to be part of a worrying trend across Nottingham and beyond.

Nottinghamshire Police said it had been made aware of similar incidents in the city over recent weeks that involved being "spiked physically".

The Home Secretary has now ordered police to urgently investigate the rise of spiking in nightclubs around the country.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said the organisation was "very concerned" about the reported increase in the number of spiking incidents in the UK.

He said: "We know this is a societal problem, but it is very difficult to say with any real certainty what the scale of this problem is."

Superintendent Kathryn Craner discusses the motives behind injection spiking

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We are currently investigating reports of individuals suspecting that their drinks have been spiked.

“Linked to this a small number of victims have said that they may have felt a scratching sensation as if someone may have spiked them physically. Consequently, we are actively investigating all these reports. “We are treating all of these incidents very seriously and are working with licensed premises and our partner agencies including the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham City Council and East Midlands Ambulance Service in undertaking thorough investigations."

Police said they have officers checking CCTV at various venues in the city.

Nottinghamshire police said a 20-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of "possession of class A and class B and cause administer poison or noxious thing with intent to injure, aggrieve and annoy" following another report made on October 16.

The man has been released on bail.

Sarah's hand was "throbbing" the day after she went to a nightclub.

It's a problem across the country too, with police in Scotland also looking into reports of spiking.

A spokesperson said: "Officers in Glasgow are carrying out inquiries into a post relating to an allegation of spiking within a premises on Sauchiehall Street on Thursday, October 14.”

A petition calling for clubs to be legally required to search guests for 'date rape' drugs and weapons on entry has collected more than 110,000 signatures.The campaign Girls Night In is calling on women across UK cities to boycott clubs on various nights in October and November to protest the rise in spiking by injection and to put pressure on venues to prevent spiking.

For many young women, the mystery around who spiked them remains unsolved.

Sarah feels "violated" and cannot comprehend who would do such a thing to a person having a good time.

She said: "I feel really sick and do feel completely violated and vulnerable, just never fully knowing the truth.

"How can you get your head around someone looking at a girl and having a good time and think "oh I'm going to do this to them"?"

She admitted she will now choose carefully who she goes out to clubs with, in the fear that she would not be looked after: "Now, I wouldn't go out with people unless I knew them 100% or if they knew where I lived or if they had my parents' contact numbers."