A bereaved mother has made a heartfelt plea for a change in the law after reigniting a campaign she set up following the death of her daughter from drugs, saying "no parent should go through what I did".

Kerry Roberts, whose 15-year-old daughter Leah Heyes died in 2019 after taking the drug MDMA in the Applegarth car park in Northallerton, has been campaigning for a Leah's Law ever since.

She wants a new law to be established to provide tougher punishments for people who supply drugs to people aged 18-years-old and younger.

Today, (Saturday, May 11) exactly five years since Leah died, Ms Roberts has spoken of her ongoing heartache - and her renewed efforts to change the law.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Leah Heyes and her mum Kerry RobertsLeah Heyes and her mum Kerry Roberts (Image: FAMILY)

Following Leah's tragic death, two teenagers, Mitchell Southern and Connor Kirkwood were sentenced to spend time at young offenders' institutions for supplying her with the drug - but Ms Roberts has always felt that their punishment was too lenient.

Southern was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders' institute while Kirkwood was sentenced to 21 months detention.

Ms Roberts now hopes that prosecutions against people who supply drugs to children and teenagers under the age of 18 should be handed a more suitable punishment. 

She has now rebooted the Leah's Law campaign - after taking some time out to have a child -  and hopes to take it further than she has before. Previous efforts saw the issue debated in Parliament in 2022 after securing more than 10,000 signatures on an official petition.

So far, the government hasn't made any official change in the law when it comes to supplying drugs to underage people - but Ms Roberts hopes this will change soon.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Leah HeyesLeah Heyes (Image: FAMILY)

She said: "The campaign was taken very far last time - and made it to Parliament - but we need to continue with politicians and start these conversations over Leah's Law.

"When we started the campaign, we wanted tougher punishments for people who supply drugs to children aged 16-years-old and younger - but we now want it to be 18-year-old and younger, because you're an adult when you're 18."

Alongside conversations with politicians, the mum also wants to continue "open and honest" talks with schoolchildren over drugs and wants Leah's story to become a "first-hand experience" for teenagers. 

Describing Leah as "so much fun" and "the most loving and caring girl", Kerry also opened up about the "everyday heartache" that she carries around over her daughter's death. 

Ms Roberts, who was pregnant at the time of Leah's death, added: "When Leah died, she was so happy to become a sister - but she never got the chance to meet her sibling. 

Darlington and Stockton Times: Kerry has reignited the Leah's Law campaignKerry has reignited the Leah's Law campaign (Image: FAMILY)

"No parent should ever go through what I did - there is no same way of dealing with grief and any parent that has lost a child to drugs deals with it in their own way.

"Some days I do feel like I can't do it any more - but my message to people who have been through this is that it does get better. When it comes up to the anniversary of Leah's death it's always difficult but we need to continue to have these honest conversations and make a change in the law and legislation."

Most recently, Ms Roberts has spoken to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak about the Leah's Law campaign - and wants to work with him as her local Member of Parliament (MP) about changing legislation in the future.

A spokesman for Mr Sunak said the MP had previously met Ms Roberts following the tragic loss of her daughter and continues to offer assistance.

MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake has also wished Ms Roberts well with the campaign, after previously working on the push for a Leah's Law - including taking it to parliament and doing TV interviews linked to the campaign.

Mr Hollinrake said: "What happened to Leah is utterly tragic and I commend Kerry for channelling this devastating loss into something positive - protecting more innocent children from the scourge of drugs.

"I wish her the best with Leah's Law to ensure that the crime of selling drugs to under 18s carries a harsher sentence."