Derbyshire Mum Tells Inquest Into Daughter's Death Ecstacy "Is Not Worth The Risk"

9 May 2018, 18:27 | Updated: 9 May 2018, 18:32

Ecstasy MDMA stock image

The mum of a student from Derbyshire, who died after ecstasy, has told an inquest "it's not worth the risk".

Joana Burns was celebrating finishing her final year of a maths degree at Sheffield Hallam University when she died after taking £7 worth of the drug, also known as MDMA.

A coroner heard Miss Burns was with a group of friends who all agreed to take the drug.

One of the friends bought it the form of a powder which they each then made into "bombs", Sheffield Coroner's Court was told.

Miss Burns's boyfriend, Lewis Birch, told the hearing the 22-year-old took the ecstasy willingly and he thought it was probably the third time she had done it.

Mr Birch said they were with a group who decided to go to the Tuesday Club at Sheffield University students' union - an event he said was known for ecstasy use.

He said Miss Burns took one "bomb" before she went into the union building on June 6 last year.

The court heard she took another in the early hours of the morning, but witnesses said she vomited that one straight back up before she started fitting and was taken to hospital.

Mr Birch said he paid £14 for two quarters of ecstasy, which he said was cheaper than he had paid before.

He told the coroner everyone else who took the drug in the group was unharmed.

Mr Birch, who said he had been in a relationship with Miss Burns for three years and had been a biomedical science student, said the group had decided to go out that night as a last celebration of their time at university.

Detective Constable Elizabeth Cooper described it as a "final fling".

Pathologist Kim Suvarna told the court Miss Burns died from drug toxicity.

He said the MDMA probably reacted with enzymes in her body to cause it to overheat.

Dr Suvarna said people up and down the country take the drug without much thought, but added: "There's no such thing as a safe drug, particularly with this kind of psychoactive substance.

"If you are susceptible, they will kill you."

He told the coroner: "The young tend to believe they can do things they wish because they are young and immortal. Unfortunately, that doesn't apply."

Assistant coroner Abigail Combes recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Miss Burns's mother, Mosca Burns, from Alfreton, Derbyshire, said outside court: "I would prefer it if nobody took MDMA again because I don't really think you can assess the risk.

"It's different every time you take it. It can have a different affect on your body, it's made in different ways, in different recipes, in different places, by different people, with different ethics.

"So, it's not worth the risk."

Mrs Burns has previously said she hoped her daughter, who wanted to be a maths teacher, would be remembered more as an inspiration for girls to take up maths rather than as a victim of illegal drugs.