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Clubber took ecstasy cocktail for five nights without sleep.

A 20-year-old clubber who died after taking an ecstasy and amphetamine cocktail had taken ecstasy for five nights and had not slept for six.

Elizabeth Wood, who was taken ill on the dance floor of the Cream nightclub in Liverpool, died of non-dependent use of drugs after taking a "snowball" ecstasy tablet and speed.

Liverpool Coroner's Court heard one witness, Mr David Jones, say that Miss Wood's boyfriend Dermott McGuigan told him outside the club's medical area that she had taken "a couple of pills".

He added that Miss Wood, a tourist information officer, had taken ecstasy every night since the previous Tuesday and had not slept since Monday.

McGuigan was fined pounds 250 earlier this month by Liverpool magistrates after admitting possessing amphetamine and ecstasy on the fatal night and having cannabis resin at his home.

McGuigan's solicitor, Mr David Phillips, told the court: "He now recognises with painful hindsight that this terrible tragedy could have so easily been avoided had they not succumbed to the temptation and a desire to take illegal drugs, namely ecstasy and speed.

"It seemed fashionable and enjoyable at the time with a fatal consequence. He has lost a good friend and he will have to live with the tragedy for the rest of his life.

"Nothing can express his sadness for the family of the deceased and he hopes it will serve as a warning to others who might be tempted to indulge in drugs."

McGuigan (24), from Hendre Park, near Caernarfon, North Wales, declined to give evidence. He had been dating Miss Wood for three months and, according to him, they were planning to live together and maybe start a family.

Coroner Mr Andre Rebello, who said Miss Wood, from Nazareth, near Caernarfon, was a casual drug user and not an addict, said he hoped lessons would be learned from her death.

He warned that while ecstasy did not kill many, very small does could cause death as well as memory impairment.

"I suspect in ten or 20 years' time a lot of young people will regret having touched ecstasy," he said.

"This is a very dangerous drug that should be left alone. It does not have any therapeutic use whatsoever. People who manufacture and sell it, people who buy it and give it to their friends are reckless in the extreme, if not responsible for some deaths."

Mr Rebello added that everyone made mistakes and the memory of Miss Wood, who lived with her parents, should not be lessened by what happened.

Her father Charles said: "She was a very well respected, very loving daughter, who did well in everything she attempted.

"She was fervently anti-drugs all along, always had been. It was just a bolt out of the blue when it happened. It wasn't Liz's character at all. We never suspected it. It was completely alien to us."

The court was told Miss Wood, her boyfriend and another friend Mr Carl Thomas, aged 25, from Caernarfon, went to the club.

Miss Wood collapsed on the dance floor and was carried to the medical room where she was seen by a paramedic.

An ambulance was called and she was taken to the Royal Liverpool Hospital where, despite doctor's efforts, she died.

McGuigan, who was at the hospital, was arrested for possession of a controlled drug in relation to the crushing of an ecstasy tablet outside the hospital.

Two post mortems were later carried out by Dr Alan Williams and Dr Alison Armour, who attributed Miss Wood's death to ecstasy and amphetamine poisoning.

Cream club director Ms Jane Cassey said: "We send our absolute heartfelt sympathy to Liz Wood's family and are devastated by her death. The police have viewed our video and are satisfied the group did not buy drugs on our premises."

The coroner recorded a verdict of death by non-dependent abuse of drugs.
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Author:Benattar, Mark
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 14, 1999
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