Daughter of police chief dies at party

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A policeman's daughter died yesterday at an all-night party, following claims by the host that she had taken ecstasy tablets earlier at a nightclub before she arrived.

Claire Pierce, 20, was found dead on a settee at a house in Meden Vale, Nottinghamshire where Simon Wright, 20, lives. Friends thought at first she was asleep but found her cold and raised the alarm. A police doctor certified her dead.

Mr Wright, a clothing salesman, said last night: "Several friends who were there with her in the club told me they had seen her taking ecstasy and a strong pain-killing drug. She was slipped the tablets in the club, but no one saw who gave them to her."

At a news conference yesterday, Superintendent Mick Salt, of Nottingham police, said the girl's father, Roy, was a superintendent in the force.

Claire, who worked with her mother Ruth as a bereavement consultant, had left home in Mansfield at 10pm on Saturday.

Supt Salt said the party-goers were being interviewed. "We do know they had been drinking alcohol and some tablets had been circulated, but at this stage we don't know what type they were.

"A Home Office pathologist is carrying out a post-mortem examination. There will then be a toxicology report on her blood."

Supt Salt said the result would not be known before Wednesday. "At present we are interviewing the 15 people who were in the house but there may be others we have to see.

"There is no suggestion at this stage that it is a criminal inquiry, and no one has been arrested. We are making investigations on behalf of the coroner.

"No tablets were found but we know they were there. But no one else has suffered any ill-effects. For all we know, Claire could have collapsed and died of a heart attack."

Claire had just won a place as a student nurse at St James's Hospital in Leeds.