Six men avoid jail term over drug death of teenage girl

Norwich Road in Wymondham. Picture Peter Walsh.

Norwich Road in Wymondham. Picture Peter Walsh. - Credit: Archant

Six men who supplied MDMA to a 17-year-old prior to her death have avoided a prison term, despite a judge issuing a stark warning that drugs can 'destroy lives'.

The comments were made by Judge Andrew Shaw as he sentenced the young men in a "tragic" case which involved the supply of MDMA prior to the death of 17-year-old Stephannie Payne.

Miss Payne was found unconscious early on October 4, 2017, in Norwich Road, Wymondham before being taken to the Norwich and Norfolk University Hospital where she died later that day.

Daniel Dowling, 23, Jordan Nicholson, 21, Frankie Puricelli, 25, Ryan Puricelli, 22, Charlie Hornagold, 22 and Jack Larter, 26, appeared at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday (Feb 6) after admitting offences related to the supply of MDMA.

The court heard that Miss Payne became unwell after she had taken MDMA prior to her death.

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Judge Shaw said: "To any young person who is considering experimenting with controlled drugs this weekend, those who might consider themselves cool or daring, those seeking a thrill influenced by some work of literary or musical art by one of their peers, I urge you to heed these words: there is no such thing as a safe controlled drug and there is no such thing as a harmless controlled drug."

He said that all six "to a greater or lesser degree" played some part or another in the chain of events that led to a child's death.

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He added: "I choose my words with care and precision. Stephannie was a child when she died taking the ecstasy that the six of you helped her to take."

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said Miss Payne had been one of a number of people at Larter's address in Wymondham who took MDMA but she "reacted very badly to the drug" and very quickly became hyperactive and was hallucinating before she collapsed.

A victim impact statement read on behalf of Stephannie's father Paul, said her "passing has left me and my family heartbroken, distraught, angry, frustrated and confused".

He said she "barely drank alcohol" and it had been "completely shocking news" to have discovered there were drugs in her system stating that he "still finds it hard to believe".

Dowling, of Abbey Road, Wymondham, previously admitted supplying MDMA and was sentenced to a one year community order with 100 hours unpaid work and a 60 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Nicholson, of Kishorn Way, Attleborough, admitted supplying MDMA and was given six months imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

Frankie Purcelli, of Abbey Road, Wymondham, admitted supplying MDMA and was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and a rehabilitation activity requirement of 60 days.

Ryan Purcelli, also of Abbey Road, Wymondham, admitted being concerned in the supply of MDMA, and was given 10 months imprisonment suspended for two years and 250 hours unpaid work.

Hornagold, of Watton Road, Barford, who admitted supplying MDMA, was given 18 months imprisonment suspended for two years and 300 hours unpaid work.

Larter, of Cromwell Close, Hethersett, admitted permitting premises to be used for the supply of MDMA and was given a community order for a year made up of 100 hours unpaid work and 60 day's rehabilitation activity requirement.

Adam Norris, mitigating for Dowling, said his client had "genuine and unflinching remorse" for the "fleeting part he played in this tragic set of circumstances".

Matthew Sorrel-Cameron, for Nicholson, said the tragedy of what happened on that day is "something which will live for him for the rest of his life".

Hugh Vass, for Frankie Puricelli, said he was "absolutely distraught" following Miss Payne's death and wished it had been him and not Stephannie.

Richard Kelly, mitigating for Ryan Puricelli, said he was "absolutely devastated" by his involvement in the case.

Ian James, mitigating for Larter, said ultimately he was a customer and consumer of the drugs but acknowledged that "it happened at his address" and "genuinely regrets what's happened".

Jude Durr, for Hornagold, said he had genuine regret and real remorse from what happened as a result of his single supply.

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