Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 17:53 UK

Heroin girl 'could have survived'

Gemma Evans (right) and Andrea Townsend
Gemma Evans and Andrea Townsend deny the charges against them

A 16-year-old girl who died from a heroin overdose would have had a "good chance" of surviving had she received medical help, a doctor has told a jury.

Channarayaphatna Krishna, a consultant toxicologist, was giving evidence at the Swansea Crown Court trial of Carly Townsend's mother and half-sister.

Andrea Townsend, 45, and Gemma Evans, 25, of Pwll, Llanelli, deny manslaughter through gross negligence.

The prosecution claims they put Carly to bed instead of calling an ambulance.

The court was told they left her in the recovery position and went to watch soaps on the television.

The jury heard in a report Dr Krishna stated: "In my opinion the possibility of this lady surviving would have been good if she had received the appropriate treatment."

The court was told that paramedics routinely administer a drug called Naloxone to heroin overdose patients.

The Townsend family home
Carly lay dying while her family watched television, the court heard

Dr Krishna told the court that "if given at the right time" it was "100% effective" in reversing the effects of opiates.

The prosecution allege that experienced drug users Mrs Townsend and Ms Evans knew Carly had taken heroin on 2 May last year.

Furthermore it is alleged she was showing signs of overdose including drifting in and out of consciousness and her lips had turned blue.

It is claimed the mother and daughter put her in the recovery position in bed at their house at about 1900 BST and went downstairs to watch television.

It is claimed they did not check on her again until she was found dead shortly before 0900 BST the following day.

Earlier the jury heard that consultant pathologist Dr Leslie-Ann Murray had given the medical cause of death as poisoning by heroin.

Toxicology tests found heroine diazepam and cannabis in Carly's system.

The trial continues.


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