Cardiff spiking: 'Everything was spinning, I couldn't feel my legs' - woman now 'scared to go out'

  • Watch ITV Cymru Wales' report by Alex Hartley

A woman who spent a night in hospital after being spiked in Cardiff has said it has left her frightened to go out.

Georgia Latham, a third year criminology student at Cardiff University, fell ill while out with a friend in the city on Friday, October 22.

The 21-year-old had not been drinking during the evening but went for a single drink with a work colleague at around 11pm.

After ordering a vodka and lemonade, she started to feel "fuzzy".

"I don't remember much at that club", she said. "But I don't think I would've left my drink alone for a large period of time, I might have had it down for 20 seconds max.

"I didn't think anything of it. I felt absolutely fine and left the club around 11.30pm. We went round the corner to the other bar and as I soon as I got there, I turned to my friend and said 'I don't feel too good, I feel a bit funny'."

Georgia said that the incident has left her afraid to go out

After getting some fresh air, Georgia told staff at the bar that something had been put in her drink.

"Luckily I knew one of the bouncers and went over to him and said 'I think something's been put in my drink, I'm struggling to feel my legs'," she continued.

"We went to the security room attached to the bar and things deteriorated quite quickly. I went from being fully conscious to drifting. Everything was spinning, I couldn't feel my legs".

After a friend, who's a medic, checked Georgia's pulse, the group rang 111 and were told to take her to hospital immediately.

Arriving at the University Hospital of Wales at around 1am, Georgia was told: "You're not our first of the night".

After being treated and given anti-sickness medication, she spent the next day feeling like there was a "cloud" in her head.

"There was a lag in my brain, I was hearing people but not processing what they were saying. It wasn't until Sunday morning that I woke up feeling coherent, clear and a bit like myself again."

Georgia's experience is just one of a number of cases across Wales in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, South Wales Police confirmed they are investigating a number of incidents in Swansea, while police say they are also looking into reports of spiking using needles.

Now, Georgia said the incident has left her anxious and afraid.

"I felt like something had been taken from me and it's very hard to get back because I kept thinking, I don't feel safe.

"I don't want to leave the house, I don't want to go out, I don't want to drink.

"Anyone can be a victim - male, female, drunk, not drunk. Anyone. I was really sad that it wasn't just me that night.

"Clubs and venues say it's just a rarity, but it's not a rarity at the moment unfortunately. It's a nationwide issue.

"The scary thing is, I can go out now and take a drinks cover, I can just drink soft drinks, but nothing is going to stop someone coming up behind me and put a needle in the back of my arm.

"There is no preventative measure that I can take to stop that, so it's over to the clubs, over to the venues to put in search machines and for people to be patted down properly.

"That's the only way that I'm going to feel like I'm going to be able to go out and have a good time."

Superintendent Jason Rees, South Wales Police

With Georgia's story just the latest incident, police forces have said they are taking every reported incident seriously, but stressed examples of spiking by injection are rare.

Superintendent Jason Rees of South Wales Police said: "In terms of injection spikes, we're seeing single figure incidents at the moment.

"We're thoroughly investigating each and everyone of those. In terms of the wider spiking, we are seeing a rise as you would expect with national awareness.

"We're working really hard to prevent any offence taking place. We're increasing patrols on our night time economy.

"We're working really hard with our partners in health, local authorities and also with licensed premises themselves. We're training door staff on vulnerability interventions

"We absolutely understand people's fears and concerns, however what I would like to remind people is that Cardiff is a really safe and vibrant night time economy and that policing and partners are working really hard to ensure that people are safe and they can have an enjoyable night out.

"We will continue to work hard to ensure that is the case."

A series of club boycotts have taken place in Wales this week, with women and girls staying away from clubs and bars to raise awareness.

A few nightclubs in Cardiff have told ITV Wales that they're taking a number of measures to tackle incidents of spiking including offering anti-spiking devices, operate searches on entry and training staff members.

Police have urged people who suspect they may have been spiked to make sure they report it and Georgia says it is important people do so, even if they don't immediately.

"If you don't feel comfortable going into a police station, you can call 101 and there'll be someone there to talk you through the process, or you can do it online."

A boycott of bars and nightclubs in Cardiff will take place on Friday, October 29.