Academic spared jail over drugs death


Sam Marsden
Friday 02 December 2011 16:34
University lecturer Brian Dodgeon
University lecturer Brian Dodgeon

A university lecturer who admitted possessing a hoard of Class A drugs at his house where a schoolgirl died was spared jail today.

Isobel Jones-Reilly, 15, died in April after taking ecstasy at an unsupervised party at the west London home of Brian Dodgeon.

Dodgeon, 61, had a stash of party drugs - ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and a psychedelic drug known as Foxy Methoxy - hidden in a wardrobe in his bedroom, but said he never thought the teenagers would find it.

Today, he was given an eight-month sentence suspended for two years at London's Isleworth Crown Court.

Passing sentence, Judge Andrew McDowall told Dodgeon: "The worst punishment you can have is one that will last for the rest of your conscious life - the knowledge that because of the possession of these drugs and your failure to keep them secure from teenage experimentation has resulted in a death.

"You know that and it is obviously a burden on you."

He added: "The failures of communication between parents and teenage children are very often the subject of humour.

"But the failures of knowledge and communication sometimes have terrible results, as happened here."

The judge imposed a six-month curfew order requiring the lecturer to be at home between the hours of 9pm and 7am, told him to pay £150 towards the prosecution's costs and ordered the destruction of the drugs.

Dodgeon, a research fellow at the University of London's Institute of Education, and his partner, Angela Hadjipateras, went away for the night on April 22, leaving their daughter, Beatrice, 14, alone at their home in Barlby Road, north Kensington, the court heard.

They knew she had used Facebook to organise a party, which was attended by about 30 young people who drank cider, wine and spirits, and smoked marijuana.

Beatrice told partygoers she had previously found a stash of cannabis in her father's drawer, and three of the teenagers went to an "out-of-bounds" bedroom in a bid to find some more.

They discovered a canister containing a selection of drugs in capsules, plastic containers and bags.

Isobel, a pupil at Chiswick Community School in west London, took two ecstasy tablets.

The teenager suffered adverse effects from taking the drug but would not let her friends call an ambulance for fear of getting into trouble.

She stopped breathing and her friends could not find a pulse. They finally dialled 999 and attempted to perform mouth-to-mouth and CPR.

Isobel, from Acton, west London, was taken to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington but was pronounced dead at 6.30am on April 23.

Beatrice and two 14-year-old boys also needed hospital treatment after the party.

Dodgeon told police in interview that he was a recreational drug user and described himself as an "old hippie".

The lecturer, a former social worker whose research subjects have included health inequalities and alcohol consumption patterns, said it had "never crossed his mind" that someone would find the drugs, which were valued by prosecutors at between £735 and £2,435.

About a week after the incident, Dodgeon attempted suicide by leaping from a bridge over the North Circular road in Walthamstow, east London.

He required brain surgery after fracturing his skull and broke numerous bones, including a femur, an elbow and a heel.