Pubdate: Thu, 14 October 1999
Source: Times, The (UK)
Copyright: 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd


A 20-YEAR-OLD woman who died after taking Ecstasy and amphetamine had
consumed Ecstasy for five nights and had not slept for six, an inquest was
told yesterday.

Elizabeth Wood, who collapsed on the dance floor of the Cream nightclub in
Liverpool, died of non-dependent abuse of drugs, the Liverpool Coroner recorded.

David Jones, a witness at the club, said that Miss Wood's boyfriend, Dermott
McGuigan, told him outside the club's medical area on Sunday, July 11, that
she had taken "a couple of pills".

He added that the tourist information officer had taken Ecstasy every night
since the previous Tuesday and had not slept since Monday. McGuigan was
fined pounds 250 this month by Liverpool magistrates after admitting
possessing amphetamine and Ecstasy on the fatal night and having cannabis
resin at his home.

David Phillips, McGuigan's solicitor, 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 but 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, declined to give evidence.
He had been dating Miss Wood for three months and, according to him, they
were planning to live together and perhaps start a family. Andre Rebello,
the coroner, who described Miss Wood, from Nazareth, near Caernarfon, as a
casual drug-user and not an addict, said he hoped lessons would be learnt
from her death. While Ecstasy did not kill many people, it could kill in
very small doses as well as causing memory impairment. "I suspect in 10 or
20 years' time a lot of young people will regret having touched Ecstasy," he

"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, Charles and Liz,
should not be diminished.

Her father, Charles, 52, 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."

The inquest was told that Miss Wood, her boyfriend and another friend, Carl
Thomas, 25, from Caernarfon, went to the club on Saturday night. She
collapsed on the dance floor and was carried to the medical room, where she
was seen by a paramedic, whom she told she had had a "snowball" and pounds 5
of "speed". An ambulance was called and she was taken to the Royal Liverpool
Hospital, where she died at 6am.

Jane Cassey, director of the Cream club, 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."

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