6:00am Friday 20th September 2013
By Vicki Henderson
A TEENAGE mother died after overdosing on a date rape drug that she took to help her get some sleep.
Shaunie Liddle, 19, and her boyfriend had been advised to use small amounts of the illegal drug, but they kept taking more when they didn’t feel its sleep-inducing effects quickly enough.
Miss Liddle, the mother of a toddler, was found in her bed by police at her home in Dunster Close, Darlington, after they were alerted to the scene by two nursery staff who had visited the house for an appointment.
Miss Liddle’s death on June 11 sparked huge speculation on social networks that she had been stabbed or murdered, forcing Durham Police to release a statement asking people not to post "hurtful and upsetting" speculation and rumour.
An inquest into her death, held at Crook Coroner’s Court, heard that Miss Liddle had taken gamma hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, alongside her boyfriend, who was not named in court.
DS Paul Faulkner, who led the investigation into Miss Liddle’s death, said GHB is best known as a date rape drug and that after a fast initial high the user will quickly become drowsy and relaxed.
DS Faulkner told coroner Andrew Tweddle that police did initially suspect foul play due to some unexplained marks on Miss Liddle’s body, but that was ruled out after the post-mortem examination.
Miss Liddle’s partner was taken to hospital suffering the after effects of the drug but recovered.
He added: “In interview, the deceased’s partner said that he and Miss Liddle were very aware of the meeting with the nursery staff the next day and they wanted to get a good night’s sleep.
“They were described as having quite chaotic lives. He went to an associate and asked him for something would that would help them sleep and was given a bottle of GHB.
“He was told only to take an inch. He and Miss Liddle each took a drink – they waited and nothing appeared to happen, so they took another drink and another. Between them they finished the whole bottle.”
Recording a verdict of abuse of drugs, Mr Tweddle said: “They both voluntarily drank a substantial amount, more than they should have done and that has led to Miss Liddle’s tragic death.
“Their hope was to get a good night’s sleep. Sadly Miss Liddle did not wake up.”
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