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Girl's drugs death 'preventable'

A former university academic and his partner were guilty of "serious failures" over the death of a teenage girl who took class A drugs at an unsupervised party at their house, a coroner said.

Isobel Reilly, 15, died in April 2011 after taking Ecstasy that was found in the bedroom of the west London home of former academic Brian Dodgeon and partner Angela Hadjipateras.

Coroner Fiona Wilcox, who recorded a narrative verdict setting out the circumstances, said it was a "tragic and preventable" death that would not have happened had Dodgeon and Ms Hadjipateras been present.

Dodgeon, 61, a former research fellow at the University of London's Institute of Education, and his partner went away for the night on April 22 2011, knowing that a party was to take place at their home in Barlby Road, north Kensington, the inquest heard.

About 30 teenagers, aged 14 and 15, attended the party, having been invited on Facebook. During the night, a group of them discovered a canister containing a selection of drugs in an unlocked cupboard.

Isobel, from Acton, west London, took two Ecstasy tablets and some form of powder, Westminster Coroner's Court heard. She became unwell, and was sweating and shaking, but would not let her friends call an ambulance for fear of getting into trouble.

When she collapsed and stopped breathing, paramedics were finally called and she was taken to St Mary's Hospital, Paddington. She was pronounced dead on the morning of April 23, and the inquest heard she died of MDMA poisoning.

Dr Wilcox said as part of the verdict about Isobel's death that "leaving the stash unsecured and the party unsupervised were both serious failures" on the part of Dodgeon and Ms Hadjipateras "and led to her death".

The coroner said the supervision arrangements they made, to have a family friend on standby in case of an emergency, were "seriously insufficient" and added: "I would have expected more to have been put in place."

In December 2011, Dodgeon was given an eight-month sentence suspended for two years at London's Isleworth Crown Court for possession of class A drugs, including Ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and a psychedelic drug known as foxy methoxy.

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