Three young men have been jailed after admitting drug offences, following the death of a Lincoln student last year.
University of Lincoln student Ashley Hughes, 19, from Gatley in Cheadle, was taken to Lincoln County Hospital after being taken ill in the early hours of December 17 last year, where he died.
A post mortem into his death found he died as a result of a drugs overdose.
Lincoln students Reis Bilal and Luke Green, both aged 19, and Haydon Watson, 21, all admitted a variety of drug offences and were sentenced at Lincoln Crown Court on July 24.
- Reis Bilal, 19, of Ruston Way in Lincoln, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a controlled drugs of class A (MDMA) between 28th October 2014 and 17th December 2014, and supply of a controlled class A drug (MDMA). For the two counts he was sentenced to two years and 18 months, to be served in a young offenders institution and to be served concurrently.
- Luke Green, 19, of Grantham Street in Lincoln, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled drug of class A (MDMA) on 16th December 2014; concerned in the supply of a controlled drug of class B (Cannabis) and a controlled drug of class A (MDMA), both between 18th October 2014 and 17th December 2014. For the three counts he was sentenced to 12 months, four months, and three months, all to be served in a young offenders institution and to run concurrently.
- Haydon Watson, 21, of High Street in Lincoln, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug of class B (Cannabis) between 10th December 2012 and 17th December 2014; and being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug of class A (MDMA) between 10th December 2012 and 17th December 2014. He was sentenced to three years and two years in prison to run concurrently. Hayden’s convictions related solely to his involvement in the supply of drugs, and did not relate to the death of Ashley Hughes.
Ashley Hughes’ family – his mum Lisa Leigh, dad Mark Hughes, and his sister Paige and brother Elliott – said in a statement after the sentencing:
“It’s like a dream. I find it very hard to accept what has happened just because of Ashley’s nature. In my heart I knew he didn’t drink, smoke, and certainly was not interested in drugs. Our lives don’t feel real anymore. What people don’t see is the pain and hurt for the family and friends left behind.
“If it was a car accident I could accept it, but not this. It was so out of character. He was at university for 13 weeks but people don’t change in that short time.
“I have read text messages on his phone in his own words saying that it was peer pressure.
“He was desperate to go to uni and enjoy life. People don’t understand what sort of drugs they’re selling and the outcome. My son was a gentle giant and didn’t have a bad bone in his body.
“I spoke to Ashley on the 16th December for 12 mins. That evening in bed at 3.26am there was a phone call to tell me my son was in cardiac arrest and to get to Lincoln A&E as quick as possible.
“I got there at 5.45 and I saw a police officer and they told me that my son was dead. I was with my daughter and we had to phone his dad and his brother to tell them. He was still warm when we got there to see him.
“The memories that haunt me are him lying there in hospital and when we brought him home for his funeral. This is the hardest thing in all our lives. I go to bed thinking of him and think about him as soon as I wake up, he never leaves my mind.
“With regards to the boys’ parents who sold Ashley the drugs. Yes, they have done wrong and their uni life has ended, but their families still have their sons, something we no longer have.
“I never knew that two ecstasy tablets could kill someone.
“There should be no mercy for people who sell drugs and prey on the innocent minded. These sorts of people put people’s lives at risk for their own financial gain and if they spent a week with our family then they would soon see the effects and destruction that they can cause.
“I have Ashley’s post mortem results at home and there was no alcohol in his body, he didn’t like drinking, it wasn’t for him. Neither were drugs.
“I feel sorry for the boys’ families at what monsters they have become. I would gladly swap places with them as at least they can still see and speak to their boys.”
Detective Constable Ian Ingamells, one of the senior investigating officers in the case, said following at the sentencing: “This has been a truly traumatic case for all of Ashley’s family, and indeed his friends, and while I am pleased with the sentences today is not a day for celebration because Ashley’s death was completely unnecessary.
“This tragic case raises a whole number of issues. First, about the dangers of taking drugs, especially if, like Ashley, you are naive concerning their effects. He was not a regular user, in fact this was probably the first time he took any kind of drugs, and because he didn’t know what to expect he wouldn’t be able to appreciate how unwell they would make him.
“Second, it highlights the potentially fatal consequences of the behaviour of anyone supplying or in possession of controlled drugs. How do you know that the person you are giving them to isn’t going to suffer a terrible physical reaction?
“Finally, this shows the criminality and the sentences these type of offences can carry. If you are someone who supplies others with drugs you would be wise to understand how committed police are to tackling issues concerning the supply and use of controlled drugs.
“Our thoughts are with Ashley’s family today and we can only hope that today’s sentences may help bring them some closure.”