‘Drug-taking not linked’ to tragic death of teen

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An inquest heard that drugs taken by a Northampton teenager at a party had nothing to do with his death the following day.

Jamal Hibbert, of Towcester Road, Far Cotton, died aged 16, on May 1, 2011 after a night of drinking with friends.

The inquest into his death was held yesterday and heard that Jamal went to Paul Martin’s flat in St Leonard’s Road, Far Cotton, on the evening of April 30, 2011.

Stevie Potter said he saw his friend, Jamal, drinking brandy at the party and during the night the two of them were given a small amount of methadone in a glass.

He added: “[They] said they were not going to give us a dangerous amount – just enough to feel it.

“I didn’t feel anything to begin with but about an hour later I was sick and had green vomit. I felt completely wrecked and could barely walk.”

Mr Martin was cleared of all charges of supplying the drugs to Mr Potter and Jamal in a court case last year.

The inquest heard that Jamal fell asleep on a sofa at the flat at about 5am, but those still there a few hours later could not wake him.

Clare O’Brien said she put Jamal in the recovery position, but his hands started to turn purple so she put him onto his back and noticed he had stopped breathing.

Mr Martin called an ambulance, but Jamal was later confirmed dead at Northampton General Hospital.

Dr David Fattah said methadone was found in Jamal’s blood after his death, but it was not an amount which could have killed him.

The court heard alcohol was found in his blood but there was no evidence of a toxic level of any drugs and Mr Fattah said he was unable to say why Jamal died.

County Coroner Anne Pember recorded an open verdict.

Speaking after the inquest, a friend of Jamal Hibbert’s family, Laney Holland, said: “It’s very sad that a 16 year old was left in the hands of adults with drugs that potentially could have killed him. Jamal was regularly in the wrong place at the wrong time. He will be sadly missed. Just because it is an open verdict doesn’t mean the family accepts what was said.”

The Unity College (now Malcolm Arnold Academy) student was a talented DJ known as MC Skimma and often played at Roadmender.

Also speaking after the inquest Jamal’s brother Tyrone Saxton, aged 20, said: “Jamal did not die in vain. He was a good young man with aspirations to improve his life. I live my life every day for my brother. I am living two lives. Not everyone can do that. God rest his soul.”