Heroin killed teenage drug addict at flat

Denise Shepherd died after a drug overdose SUS-140412-140509001
Denise Shepherd died after a drug overdose SUS-140412-140509001

A teenager who started smoking cannabis when she was just 11 years old died from an overdose of heroin and a cocktail of pills, an inquest has heard.

Denise Shepherd’s boyfriend, Jamie Hayne, woke up in the early hours on June 5, 2013 and found his 19-year-old partner was not breathing.

An inquest into her death was held by coroner Alan Craze at Eastbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday, December 4.

The corner heard from Joann Bell, Miss Shepherd’s mother, who told the court her daughter started smoking cannabis at just 11 and she had moved home in an attempt to stop her taking the drug. However, by the age of 19, Miss Shepherd had moved her boyfriend in to the home she shared with her mother and the pair were drinking heavily and she suspected they were using drugs.

She told Mr Craze the couple had a volatile relationship, were often intoxicated and didn’t clean up or look after themselves.

She said, “They became increasingly difficult to live with.

“I struggled financially because they came to me for food.”

Ms Bell moved out of the flat in Bourne Street two days before her daughter died from an overdose.

Neighbour Valerie Standen gave evidence at the inquest. She explained she was asleep when Jamie Hayne knocked on the door and asked her to call an ambulance because Miss Shepherd was not breathing. She went down to the flat the couple shared and tried to administer CPR.

Paramedics were unable to resuscitate Miss Shepherd and it is thought she may have been dead for some hours.

Mr Craze recorded a conclusion of dependence on drugs.

Joann Bell, the girl’s mother, spoke to the Gazette after the inquest and said her daughter had fallen in with the wrong crowd when she was very young. She said, “It is so difficult. People won’t talk to their parents about drugs.

“I tried to sit down and talk to her calmly but I never was aware exactly what was going on. I wouldn’t have moved out if I had known.

“She was gullible, naive and easily-led.”

Ms Bell added, “She would be an aunty now. Her brother is now a father. She would have loved being an aunty.”