Spiked in Bristol: Woman 'feared for her life' after collapsing on night out

Simone told ITV News' Imogen McGuckin she wants to warn others about spiking.

A woman who thinks her drink was spiked in Bristol says she "feared for her life" after collapsing and suffering seizures.

Simone White, 43, had been enjoying a prosecco brunch with her friend at a venue in the city centre on Saturday 4 May. Five weeks later, she's still not back to normal.

The night began normally, but after being in the venue for two hours Simone started feeling unwell.

She said: "I started to feel very funny -a bit too drunk and unaware of things that were going on. I just felt like I'd had a bit too much to drink too quickly."

"I thought 'I'll go and sit outside for a bit and get some fresh air'. I remember sitting down and thinking 'something's really not right'."

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this report, there is help available to you. Visit the Stamp Out Spiking charity for support, resources and guidance. If you believe you have been a victim of crime, contact your local police force to report it.

Simone thinks she then tried to make her way to the bus stop at the Bay Horse, as she remembers walking down St Nicholas Street.

"I remember seeing the cobbles on the floor and then I looked down the road and it was like a tunnel. Everything was all blurry and spinning.

"At that point, I think I'd probably started to hallucinate maybe," she said.

Simone left the venue after feeling unwell and collapsed near Bristol Bridge Credit: Simone White

She collapsed near Bristol Bridge, where some passersby found her and managed to call her parents and partner George.

By the time her father and George made it into town, Simone had started having seizures.

George said: "I don't scare easily and I was scared. At one point I thought she might die, because of the way she was reacting.

"She would go absolutely rigid almost as though it was a seizure or a stroke and I'm thinking 'oh my God, what if she has a brain aneurysm or something."

They took her to Southmead Hospital, where she spent 10 hours in the emergency department, passing in and out of conscientiousness.

She said: "I was gurning, screaming, clawing at the sick bowls they were giving me, tearing them to pieces. At 7am I was discharged and I could barely walk or talk at that point."

Simone's partner George (right) was afraid she would die after she started having seizures Credit: Simone White

In the five weeks since then, she has returned to Southmead Hospital for CT and MRI scans - and a lumbar puncture to test her cerebral fluid.

The doctors think she may have suffered a functional neurological disorder (FND) in reaction to whatever drug was in her system.

It occurs when someone experiences a traumatic or stressful event, which causes the brain's "software" to malfunction.

Symptoms include muscle weakness, speech problems, tremors and seizures.

While her speech and movement has now improved, Simone said she still struggles with her short-term memory and weakness in her left leg.

"There was the realisation that this might have been me for the rest of my life. It looked very much like I'd had a stroke.

"I think I'm one of these sorts of people, I just say 'it's happened, it's done. I can't change it, I'll just move on now'.

"But at the time I was really scared. Genuinely fearful for my life, at one point.

"And in some ways I'm think I'm glad I don't remember what went on, because if I was the way that I was for as long as I was, it must have been horrendous for people to see," Simone said.

She added: "This person, whoever it was, had no thought about the knock-on effects that happened. It's not just the victim it affects, it's everybody around them, everybody that loves them.

"I think that's why I've been so public about this, because I want people to see what can happen. Be aware of how dangerous it can be.

"At the end of the day, I'm a mum, I've got kids. I know so many parents with children, young adults, I don't want this to happen to anybody else. It was just horrendous."

Avon and Somerset Police said they were investigating what happened to Simone.

A spokesman said: "We're investigating an incident in which a woman required hospital treatment in a suspected spiking incident while visiting a bar in Bristol.

"She had been with a group of friends in Bristol city centre between 4pm and 6pm on Saturday 4 May before falling unwell and being taken to hospital.

"The incident was reported to police later that evening and enquiries are ongoing. If you have any information please call 101 and quote reference 5224114366."

Simone has now launched a petition against spiking. You can find it here.