The heartbroken father of a 17-year-old trainee hairdresser who died after taking ecstasy warned last night that drugs are being "handed out like sweets" to Ulster kids.
Belfast Coroner's Court heard that Nicole McCrindle, from Fernlea Gardens in Ballyclare, who had epilepsy, died after suffering a fit triggered by the Class A drug on August 19, 2006.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph after the inquest into his only daughter's death, Steven McCrindle (40) said he was struggling to cope.
"I'm very angry," he said. "I didn't realise she was taking drugs. She was a lovely, lovely wee girl. She was just at the start of her life."
An emotional Mr McCrindle added: "She had her whole future ahead of her. My message to young people would be to stay away from drugs and be careful of the company you keep."
Mr McCrindle, who was on holiday with his wife Helen when he heard the devastating news, said his three sons Steven (15), Jordan (14) and Adam (11) were badly affected.
"This should never have happened," he said.
"From our point of view it is such a tragic loss.
"We'll never get to go to her wedding. We'll never get to see her children. It's so unfair.
"People giving these things to teenagers are so irresponsible. They need to think about what they're doing."
He added: "There are so many people with underlying medical conditions who can be affected and yet people are handing these things out like sweets."
A post-mortem examination revealed the presence of ecstasy in the deceased's body, the level of which was "much higher" than would normally be associated with recreational use of the drug.
Deputy state pathologist for Northern Ireland Dr Alistair Bentley, who carried out the examination, said it wasn't possible to say how many tablets were taken but the concentration of the drugs was extremely high and lay " within the range of fatal toxicity".
He said it was most likely that the victim suffered from an epileptic fit triggered from taking ecstasy.
Coroner Suzanne Anderson also said the deceased's background of epilepsy was "a relevant factor in the teenager's death".