Belfast Telegraph

Mum who paid for drugs that killed pregnant pal avoids jail

Michelle Gill-Hamner at Belfast Crown Court
Michelle Gill-Hamner at Belfast Crown Court

By Ashleigh McDonald

A mother-of-nine who gave her friend money to buy drugs which subsequently killed the younger woman was handed a suspended sentence yesterday.

Michelle Gill-Hamner (45) admitted being concerned in the supply of class A diamorphine, and also being concerned in the supply of class C diazepam, on September 14, 2017.

The charges arose from the death of 24-year-old Rose Wilson, whose lifeless body was found in a bedroom in Gill-Hamner's then flat on Dunluce Avenue in Belfast on the evening of September 15, 2017.

At the time of her death Ms Wilson was eight weeks pregnant.

Gill-Hamner, from Chapel Hill Mews in Lisburn, was handed a two-year sentence, suspended for two years, at Belfast Crown Court.

During yesterday's sentencing Judge Paul Ramsey described Ms Wilson's death as "premature and tragic". Issuing a warning about the dangers of drugs, Judge Ramsey said: "The family of the deceased will not be the last or the first family to have to go through this terrible, terrible tragedy."

The emergency services were called to the flat around 7.35pm on the evening in question following a 999 call made by Gill-Hamner. Ms Wilson's body was found lying on the floor in a bedroom, and was displaying signs of rigor mortis.

Gill-Hamner made a number of comments to police at the scene, and said the deceased was a friend who had been staying with her. She said she had lent her friend money to buy drugs, that they had taken diazepam and pregabalin together as well as drinking alcohol, and that her friend had a bag of heroin and had gone into the bedroom to inject the drug.

Gill-Hamner also said she went to bed in the early hours, woke at 7.30pm that evening and had gone to speak to her friend, but found her lying on the bedroom floor, cold and unresponsive.

A post-mortem was conducted on the 24-year-old, and the cause of death was attributed to the intoxicating effects of heroin, diazepam and pregabalin. The autopsy also showed two needle puncture marks on the young woman's arm, as well as her pregnancy.

Gill-Hamner was arrested and interviewed on three occasions. While she answered "no comment" to some questions, she told police she lent her friend money to buy the drugs - but said: "I didn't make her buy the drugs and I didn't make her take the drugs."

It was also noted that before the emergency services arrived at the flat, there had been a clean-up and no traces of drug-taking were apparent.

Judge Ramsey said he accepted Gill-Hamner was now seeking treatment for "chronic drug use" and that the remorse she has expressed concerning Ms Wilson's death was genuine.

Regarding the offences, Judge Ramsey said Gill-Hamner pleaded guilty to essentially facilitating the purchase of drugs in what he described as a "heartbreaking case".

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