A university lecturer has admitted possessing drugs after a teenage girl died when she took ecstasy from his hidden stash during a party thrown by his daughter in his home. Brian Dodgeon, 61, tried to kill himself a week later in remorse, a court heard yesterday.
The research fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London, who described himself as an "old hippie", threw himself off a bridge after Isobel Jones-Reilly, 15, died.
He was still suffering from the injuries inflicted by the fall – which included a fractured skull that required brain surgery, along with a broken leg, elbow and heel – when he appeared at West London magistrates' court yesterday with the aid of a crutch and pleaded guilty to four counts of drug possession.
Mr Dodgeon had been with his partner at a party in Hastings on 22 April when their 14-year-old daughter, Beatrice Hadjipateras, invited about 30 friends to the family house in Kensington, the court heard. The teenagers drank cider, wine and spirits and smoked cannabis as Beatrice told her friends of some marijuana she had once found in her father's drawer.
Nisha Dutt, for the prosecution, described how three of them later went upstairs to Mr Dodgeon's out-of-bounds bedroom and found a canister of narcotics – including LSD, ketamine and a psychedelic substance known as Foxy Methoxy, as well as ecstasy – valued at between £735 and £2,435.
Isobel took two ecstasy tablets while Beatrice and two other friends took one each, Ms Dutt said. "By 3am Isobel had shown signs of deterioration," she said. "She had started hallucinating and became very hot and red faced. Her friends wanted to call an ambulance but she insisted that they did not because they would get into trouble. After about an hour she lay on the bed frothing at the mouth, went pale and was motionless. She stopped breathing and friends could not find a pulse."
Isobel was taken by ambulance to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington and pronounced dead at 6.30am. The tragedy prompted Mr Dodgeon to leap from a flyover on the North Circular Road in Walthamstow, east London, a week later. His barrister described the act as "the most dramatic exhibition of remorse".
Though he was aware of the party and had given his neighbours advance warning, the lecturer told police it had "never crossed his mind" the drugs would be found by his daughter. She was said to have been going through a period of "challenging" behaviour at the time and had been referred to drug services by her school.
Mr Dodgeon, a former social worker who counted health inequalities and alcohol-consumption patterns among his research subjects, also told officers he kept the drugs for recreational reasons and had never supplied them to others. He will be sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on 18 November.