Teenager with ‘heart of gold’ died after taking MDMA, inquest hears

PUBLISHED: 15:13 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:32 30 July 2020

Norwich Road in Wymondham. Picture Peter Walsh.

Norwich Road in Wymondham. Picture Peter Walsh.


The death of a teenager who died after taking MDMA, has been highlighted as an example of “absolute agony of illicit drug taking”, by a coroner.

Stephanie Payne, from Aldeburgh in Suffolk, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on October 4, 2017, the day after she took the drug, a powdered form of ecstasy, with friends.

At an inquest into her death, held at Norfolk Coroner’s Court on July 30, Jacqueline Lake, senior coroner for Norfolk heard evidence from Paul Payne, Miss Payne’s father, the paramedics called to her aid, police officers and three of her friends, Jack Larter, Jordan Nicholson and Frankie Puricelli, with whom she took the drugs.

The court heard how on October 2, Miss Payne was picked up from home by Mr Larter and Mr Puricelli before heading to Mr Nicholson’s home in Wymondham.

The group had been discussing taking MDMA.

Miss Payne had first taken the drug at Sundown Music Festival in August 2017, and had told Mr Puricelli, Mr Larter and Mr Nicholson she wished to take it again, suggesting it as something they could do together.

On October 3, the group spilt an amount of the psychoactive, Mr Larter, Mr Puricelli and Mr Nicholson all reported that Miss Payne reacted to it within 10 minutes.

She later became unresponsive, and after Mr Puricelli and Mr Nicholson attempted without success to revive her an ambulance was called.

A post-mortem examination gave Miss Payne’s cause of death as multiple organ failure following MDMA intoxication.

The examination also found Miss Payne had been using MDMA for six months prior to her death.

Paul Payne, told the court how he had been shocked to discover his daughter, who had a “heart of gold” and whom he believed was anti-drugs, had been using MDMA for six months.

He said his daughter’s death had left him and his family heartbroken.

Concluding the inquest, Ms Lake said Miss Payne died of a drug-related death. She added her death showed the “absolute agony of illicit drug taking”.

She said Miss Payne’s death also showed the tragic loss of a young woman’s life “who had led a very full life, who was very close to her family and had so much to offer.”

• Need help or advice? - The Matthew Project, which provides support and advice to people in Norfolk affected by substance misuse can be contacted via: 0800 970 4866.

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