Police chief in plea over girl's drug death

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The senior policeman whose daughter died after taking a mixture of alcohol, ecstasy tablets and painkillers yesterday appealed plea to other youngsters to avoid her mistakes.

Roy Pierce, a superintendent in Nottinghamshire, said in a statement following the inquest into the death of his daughter, Claire: "To all those other beautiful young people out there, please reflect long and hard on Claire's tragic death and please, please don't make the same mistake."

Superintendent Mick Salt, who read the statement, denied that the death of his colleague's daughter was an embarrassment to the force. However, he promised that to "make every effort as a force to track the source of the ecstasy".

The inquest in Nottingham was told that the 20-year-old may have died trying to achieve a better ecstasy high on a trip with friends from her home in Mansfield to a Derby nightclub.

The coroner heard that Ms Pierce, a student, had died after consuming up to 20 distalgesic painkillers on top of one and a half ecstasy pills and a large amount of alcohol, including vodka, strong cider and alcoholic lemonade.

Detective Inspector Brian Dennis said that on the way to the club, Ms Pierce sold five ecstasy tablets and shared three with a friend, Vicky Burgess.

Ms Pierce later complained of a headache and was seen to consume 10 distalgesic tablets and pocket another strip of 10.

Ms Burgess told police she had seen her best friend taking up to eight similar tablets while on ecstasy. The mixture is commonly known on the rave scene to provide a "higher hit".

At about 4am some of the group travelled to a friend's house in Mansfield where Ms Pierce was "extremely drunk and incoherent". Det Insp Dennis said she was left to sleep with a coat over her but a friend noticed she looked cold. "Claire's head and limbs had appeared to have gone blue," he said.

Dr Nigel Chapman recorded a verdict of accidental death saying a post mortem had revealed Ms Pierce died of poisoning from the alcohol and headache tablets containing the drug Coproxymol.