Five years for teenage drug dealer
1:52pm Friday 1st August 2014 in © Press Association 2014
An 18 year-old drug dealer who targeted schoolboys has been sentenced to five years in prison after a youngster "with everything to live for" died after taking ecstasy.
Daniel Spargo-Mabbs, 16, of Croydon, died of multiple organ failure three days after taking MDMA, or ecstasy, when he went to a a rave in Hayes, west London, in January.
He was among of group of five friends who had asked for the class A drug before the party.
Nicqueel Pitrora, of Croydon, admitted being concerned in the supply of class A drugs on January 17.
He also pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class B drugs between January 1 2013 and January 16 2014, and possession of class B drugs (cannabis) on January 21.
Judge Martin Edmunds QC told Pitrora during sentencing at Isleworth Crown Court: "I keep well in mind that you are being sentenced for being concerned in supply and not for manslaughter.
But there can be no question that you bear a heavy weight of responsibility for the death of Daniel."
Pitrora was sentenced to five years for being concerned with the supply of MDMA, plus two years and four months to be served concurrently for the supply of cannabis. No penalty was added for a count of simple possession.
Daniel and his friends clubbed together to pay for the drugs. A total of four calls were made to Pitrora, who went by the street name of Shampz, between 8.02pm and 8.48 pm on that fatal night.
The judge noted these were "clearly calls organising the purchase and giving directions for the pick-up - the fact that delivery was made by another does not minimise your role".
He told Pitrora that it was " apparent you made a business of supplying drugs to schoolboys using the street name Shampz to supplement your benefit income and fund your own use".
He said: "During the trial, a clear picture emerged of you and one or other of Daniel's friends, aged 15 or 16 - pre GCSE-age, phoning you from school then waiting on street corners in their school uniforms for delivery of the cannabis that they had ordered."
The judge added: " I am satisfied that you targeted such young people, providing them with a ready source of drugs, fully aware of their age and whatever the purchasers themselves may have thought.
"You were only yourself a few years older, but that is a considerable gulf in age."
Jurors had heard that on January 17 a group of youngsters aged between 15 and 17 were going to a rave.
Prosecutor Tyrone Silcott said the group made a phone call a nd ecstasy requested. Three bags of white powder were delivered. Daniel paid £20 towards a quantity of MDMA and put what was thought to be half a gram into 500ml of water - with one witness claiming he possibly drank it all in one go.
Mr Silcott said it was Pitrora who was telephoned and asked if he could supply two and a half grams of MDMA. The group was quoted a price of £80. Mr Silcott added that one of the youngsters called a number he had rung before in order to request the drugs.
Mr Silcott said: "It was a number which relates to this defendant Mr Pitrora. He had used that number to a dealer he knew as Shamps, a dealer he had used before and met in the past."
Daniel's heartbroken mother made a victim impact statement which left some people in court in tears.
Defence counsel Stephen Bailey described it as "moving" before stating that Pitrora deeply regretted what had happened and that he wanted to turn his life around.
Speaking with her husband, Tim, at her side for support, Mrs Spargo-Mabbs told the court that Daniel's death had left their close-knit family in a devastating "haziness" which they were still trying to cope with.
Speaking of a mother's love for a son who is now dead, she said: " It is like having a limb ripped off without any anaesthetic. It it like having an enormous wound but it is much worse. I would choose either of those things than losing my son."
In her statement Mrs Spargo-Mabbs said she suffers from exhaustion, has lost an enormous amount of weight and is having counselling. Her husband is on anti-depressants and Daniel's 19 year-old brother had problems trying to settle down as he started university.
He tries to think of other things and go for long bike rides to take his mind off it but "he breaks down" as he realises again that he is now an only child, she said.
Mrs Spargo-Mabbs added: " I still cannot believe that this has happened. How can someone so full of life be there and then not be there?
"How can someone who has been such a part of my life, his mother for 16 years, not be there when I am?"