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Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 08:29 GMT 09:29 UK
Three questioned over 'ecstasy' death
Jade Slack
Jade may be youngest victim of ecstasy
Police are awaiting toxicology tests on the 10-year-old girl who died after a suspected ecstasy overdose.

Three people questioned in connection with the death of Jade Slack have been released on bail.

It is believed the schoolgirl from Lancaster took as many as five tablets of ecstasy before she died in hospital on Sunday.

If it is proved that she died from an ecstasy overdose, she would be the youngest victim of the drug.

Ecstasy
Police believe they found ecstasy at the house

Two men and a woman - aged between 18 and 20 - arrested after Jade's death, have been released on police bail pending further forensic and toxicology tests.

Jade died at Lancashire Royal Infirmary after spending Sunday afternoon with a 10-year-old friend at a house near her home in Meadow Park, Galgate.

Detective Superintendent Ian Jones, who is leading the investigation, said police had recovered articles from the house and from one of the people in custody.

"We have reason to believe this may be ecstasy.

"While we cannot at this stage confirm that Jade died directly as a result of this, but it is obviously a strong line of inquiry."

The results of toxicology tests are unlikely to be revealed for several days.

Fatal dose

A source close to the police inquiry confirmed that officers were looking at the possibility that Jade may have taken up to five tablets.

Professor Chris Milroy, a forensic pathologist at the University of Sheffield, said: "If a 10-year-old girl took five tablets then, due to her weight, its effect would be five to 10 times more than a similar dose would have on an adult clubber.

"Drugs and young people do not mix."


She was a bubbly, popular girl who will be greatly missed by us all

Barbara White, head teacher at Jade's school

A police officer outside the family's bungalow said they were too distressed to speak.

Superintendent Jones said a post-mortem examination had been carried out.

While the 10-year-old girl was "a totally untypical victim" he said it showed the public "the horror that drugs can effect".

On Monday, a special assembly was held at Jade's school, Ellel St John's Primary School.

'Popular girl'

The headteacher Barbara White, said: "Everyone at the school is terribly shocked by the tragic death of Jade at the weekend.

"She was a bubbly, popular girl who will be greatly missed by us all.

"Jade was in many of the school sports teams and scored in the last football match."

Jade's former classmates paused outside the house where she is thought to have taken the drugs as they made their way to school on Tuesday.

Some laid flowers on the wall outside the terraced cottage expressing sympathy for the 10-year-old's family.

The cards on one small bunch read: "To Jade, we are thinking about you. Rest in peace forever, from friends."

Family tragedy

Figures indicate a sharp increase in the number of people who have died after taking the drug ecstasy.

In 2000, there were 27 ecstasy-related deaths in England and Wales - compared with 17 the year before.

A spokesman for drug charity DrugScope said on average each year 10 people die after taking ecstasy.

"If it's proved to be the case that ecstasy was the cause of her death it will be the youngest reported case that we are aware of.

"It's a complete tragedy for the family involved," he said.


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See also:

25 Mar 02 | England
06 Nov 00 | Wales
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