Mum’s agony after ‘princess’, 18, dies ‘taking drugs with 2 others’ at uni halls
One of three university students who died after allegedly taking illegal drugs was described by her heartbroken mum as her “beautiful princess and best friend”.
Police are investigating the deaths of Jeni Larmour, 18, two other students and a man in the locked down North East.
It is feared Jeni and another tragic 18-year-old girl at the same halls of residence at Newcastle University had taken ketamine. Both had been at the university for less than 48 hours.
A 21-year-old Northumbria University student also lost his life as police investigating the four deaths warned: ‘Don’t take drugs. It could cost your life’.
Talented teenager Jeni Larmour died on Saturday.
It is feared she had taken ketamine at the same Newcastle University hall of residence where the second girl was found unresponsive 24 hours later.
Jeni’s heartbroken mum Sandra Foster Larmour posted on Facebook : “My beautiful Princess my best friend x”
The Northumbria University student had allegedly taken MDMA. An 18-year-old man from Washington, Tyne and Wear, 10 miles from Newcastle, who was not a student, also tragically died, again after taking the same drug.
One mum dropping off her daughter at Newcastle University admitted it was every parents’ worst nightmare to hear of such a tragic loss of life in one weekend.
“It is not what you want to hear on the first day,” she said.
Last night, after Northumbria Police made 10 arrests and carried out searches of university halls with sniffer dogs, students told how the 10pm lockdown curfew meant many Freshers were heading to halls to ‘party’.
Chief Inspector Steve Wykes of Northumbria Police said: “This weekend we have seen the tragic loss of four young lives and our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of those who have sadly died.
“Although our investigations are at an early stage and we continue to establish the circumstances around these tragedies, we want to reiterate our warning to people against taking drugs for recreational use.
“The consequences could cost you your life.” He added: “Illegal drugs are never safe and the danger that they pose cannot be underestimated.”
Officers were systematically searching Pont Block, at Park View Student Village in Newcastle, where Jeni was pronounced dead there on Saturday.
An 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of supplying a Class B drug, and has since been released on bail.
Officers received another call to the same building in the early hours of Sunday, where the second 18-year-old female student was found unresponsive. It is believed ketamine had been present at the address.
Police were also called to a report of a cardiac arrest on Coach Road Estate, in Washington, 10 miles from Newcastle.
An 18-year-old man had reportedly taken a quantity of MDMA and fallen ill. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
Seven people were arrested in connection with this incident and have since been released under investigation.
The Northumbria student had taken ill at an address on Melbourne St, Newcastle on Sunday, and died a short time later in hospital. A 20-year-old male arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs has been released on police bail.
One Northumbria student said: “People are coming back at 10pm and partying in their rooms. They want to keep on socialising and that is creating problems.”
Another, 21, added: “It is party central. I would not touch any pills. They are putting fentanyl in them which is similar to morphine but is 100 times more potent.
“A drug called Xanax is being mixed with MDMA and that is not very nice either because it is prescription only and again it is very powerful.
“First years just want to get out and have fun in their first weeks but everything is closed.”
Minty Baigys, 20, a business student from Lithuania, saw a heavy police presence at the private accommodation where the fellow Northumbria student died.
“I am not partying, but I hear people coming back at 5am. I don’t know where they have been,” he said.
Jeni, studying architecture and urban planning, was an ex-pupil of Armagh Royal School, Northern Ireland and was appointed Deputy Head Girl in her final year.
Paying tribute, headmaster Graham Montgomery said Jeni had been “a model pupil” and was very highly regarded within the school community.
Search teams were going through flats close to the Pont block where it is believed Jeni and the other girl had lived.
One 1st year psychology student in a neighbouring block told the Mirror: “The problem is that people are going out until 10pm and then they get bored and don’t want the night to end. The shops are shut so they can’t get any alcohol but they still want to go and have a party.
“If you are in a club after 10, it is a controlled environment. It has been a weird Freshers Week, but this is just scary.” Language student Henry Robson, 19, also in the Richardson Road blocks, added: “Police have been going through the rooms with sniffer dogs.
“I have only just arrived. You are only allowed to socialise with people in your flat.”
Newcastle University was ‘devastated to learn of a second death’ and said their wellbeing teams were providing support. Northumbria University was deeply saddened to confirm the death of their student.
“We are in contact with the student’s family and friends to offer any support we can do at this tragic time,” said their spokesman. “As this is an on-going police investigation we are unable to offer any further comment.”
A total of 770 locked-down students at Northumbria have tested positive for the virus, with one banner reading ‘rona riddled’ on display in one hall of residence.
Others wrote ‘HMP NC’ in the window in a reference to being imprisoned. The University and College Union said many of its 900 members at the university are demanding teaching online only.
An expert warned the authorities about students going back.
. Prof Fiona Measham, chair in criminology at Liverpool University,
co-founded The Loop, a harm reduction charity which promotes health and wellbeing in nightlife venues and tests pills and powders found by police or door staff to identify substances of concern.
She said: “Everyone was so busy with coronavirus and no-one was thinking about what would happen when the students came back.
“There’s no nightclubs and pubs close at 10pm.
“Nightclubs are a semi-safe space, they have registered door staff and security, the bigger clubs often have paramedics, they have chillout spaces.
“If you don’t have nightclubs open, you lose that safety net.”
Newcastle University’s vice-chancellor Professor Chris Day denied freshers’ week had been a factor in either of the young students’ deaths.
A father of three, he had spoken to his undergraduate daughter and understood the worries parents of students must be experiencing.
Police urged anyone with illegal drugs to safely dispose of them, either to the university authorities if they were a student, or at a police station if they were not.
It is ‘too early to say’ if the drugs were part of deadly batches, they said.
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