An Armagh mother has shared her relief after a coroner found her teenage daughter probably did not buy drugs which contributed to her death.
Newcastle Coroner's Court has found that 18-year-old Jeni Larmour died after taking ketamine, which was likely supplied "by someone else", while she was under the influence of alcohol.
The Newtownhamilton girl was starting out student life at Newcastle University when died suddenly in October 2020, it has emerged, because of the concoction of both substances.
An inquest led by Coroner Karen Dilks had been trying to establish what happened that led to Miss Larmour being found lifeless on the bedroom floor of her new halls flatmate, Kavir Kalliecharan, hours after arriving at her new halls of residence.
The coroner she was reluctant to record the death as one by drugs and alcohol, saying instead that she believes on the balance of probability, it was misadventure - meaning because of "unintentional acts and events".
Speaking outside court, Jeni's mother Sandra said she was glad to be able to tell the world that Jeni "was innocent".
"The coroner's acknowledgement that the drugs were provided to her by another, or in other words, not her own, is of comfort to us, getting out to the world that she was innocent in all of this," she said.
"We've had to listen to unbearable evidence throughout this process, that the substances that killed Jeni were her own, and that she engaged wilfully in the supplying of these drugs to others. "I've always known that this could not be further from the truth, particularly given the fact that just a few hours earlier, Jeni had boarded a plane with me from Belfast to Newcastle, meaning that she could never have taken those drugs with her.
WATCH: Jeni's mother Sandra speaks following the coroner's verdict:
The court heard evidence from a toxicology report, which found the level of alcohol in Miss Larmour's blood was around two and a half times the driving limit, while ketamine at a level below what is considered a fatal dose, was also detected. The Home Office Pathologist said the implication is therefore the drugs alone were not life-ending. Searches of the student accommodation in the immediate aftermath of Miss Larmour's death did not uncover any drug related items in seven out of eight bedrooms, but that paraphernalia consistent with the smoking of cannabis was found in a drawer in Mr Kalliecharan’s room. Scales, small sealed bags, two pre-rolled joints, a grinder, some residual white powder, and some MDMA were discovered. Mr Kalliecharan, now 20, pleaded guilty to the possession of ketamine, MDMA and cannabis in June 2021 and was handed a two-year conditional discharge, however he always insisted that Miss Larmour supplied the drugs. This week, he told the coroner’s court that she had supplied two small bags of drugs. Barrister Christian Weaver said the Larmour family always denied this. The coroner’s court also heard from Newcastle University’s academic registrar that the new urban planning student was “bright and able”, and “exactly the kind of student we want studying with us”.
Lucy Backhurst said she read Jeni’s application, in which a reference from her school described her as “an articulate and accomplished ambassador”.
Ms Backhurst, from the university, said that the advice and guidance for students has “evolved” since the fatal incident in 2020.
The content was previously more disciplinary-procedures orientated, but she said that in the wake of the “terrible tragedy”, it has become “more harm-focused” to make students aware of the risks associated with consuming drugs and alcohol.
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