Drug dealers ‘regularly left calling cards at university flats’ as three students die

Local sellers dropped self-made ads under doors, directing students to Instagram accounts where they could order ketamine and MDMA

Colin Drury
Wednesday 07 October 2020 09:49
Jeni Larmour
Jeni Larmour

Freshers in a city where three students died in suspected drug tragedies regularly had calling cards left at their accommodation by local dealers, it has emerged.

Jeni Larmour and another 18-year-old were found dead at Newcastle University’s Park View halls of residence this weekend after apparently taking ketamine, while a 21-year-old Northumbria University student also died after being taken to hospital.

A fourth individual – an 18-year-old man from nearby Washington – passed away after allegedly taking MDMA.

Now, it has emerged that local dealers were approaching students within days of them arriving in the North East city.

Cards were left under accommodation doorways directing youngsters to an Instagram account where drugs could be ordered, according to the Mirror.

“I’m in private accommodation that has lots of kids from university," a 19-year-old psychology student told The Mirror. "I don’t even know how they got in but they put the cards under the doors.”

“They were under neighbours’ doors as well.”

SuSu Tan, 18, a business management student, added: “We’ve been here less than a week, so I am not sure how they knew we lived there.”

Eleven people have since been arrested in connection with the four deaths by Northumbria Police.

Chief inspector Steve Wykes, of the force, said on Tuesday that more student blocks had now been searched as part of the investigation and he urged anyone with drugs to dispose of them either by contacting a university welfare officer or by visiting their local police station.

“We are all still in shock at what has been an incredibly sad and difficult weekend,” he said.

Meanwhile, tributes have continued to pour in for Larmour, who had arrived in Newcastle, from her native County Armagh just two days before she died.

The architecture student was described as “spirited and independently minded” by her former head teacher Graham Montgomery at The Royal School Armagh.

“We have no doubt, that given her academic ability and personality, Jeni had a bright future ahead of her and we are saddened that has been so suddenly cut short,” he said.

Newcastle University has said it was “devastated” to learn of the deaths of two of its students, and said its wellbeing teams were providing support to those affected.

“The health and safety of our students is our utmost priority and in light of the sad and shocking events of this weekend our vice-chancellor, Prof Chris Day, has with great sadness written to all our students informing them of the distressing news and offering support to anyone affected,” a spokesperson said.

Professor Fiona Measham, co-founder of The Loop, a harm reduction charity, said she had warned “all summer to anyone who would listen” about the risks of students going back to university amid Covid restrictions.

“There’s no nightclubs and pubs close at 10pm,” Professor Measham, chair in criminology at Liverpool University, said.

“Nightclubs are a semi-safe space, they have registered door staff and security, the bigger clubs often have paramedics, they have chillout spaces. If you don’t have nightclubs open, you lose that safety net.”

She added: “My concern was that over the summer there were illegal raves and now the weather is turning bad, young people will be having parties in private residences but they won't have paramedics on hand.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in