The devastated mother of a 15-year-old girl who died after supposedly taking a single ecstasy pill has released an ‘awful’ photograph showing her daughter in hospital.
Shakira Pellow collapsed on Friday night and died the next morning after allegedly taking a pill bearing the logo of the toy brand Duplo.
Now the schoolgirl’s mother – from Camborne in Cornwall – has published a picture of Shakira before she died to warn others of the danger of drugs.
Lee Butcher, the partner of mum Rita Hole, explained: ‘It is the most awful picture and we discussed whether to release it or not.
‘However, we want to say to other teenagers, if you carry on taking this stuff, this is what’s going to happen to you.
‘Our Shakira is not coming back from this. This was her life and now it’s gone – it could easily be you.’
He added that he believed Shakira ‘was going to come through it’ when he took the picture.
‘I took the picture thinking I would show it to her later,’ he said. ‘We never thought it would go any further but now we find ourselves in these sad circumstances.
‘We want this picture to stand in Shakira’s honour and memory as a warning to others. We want it to help others by showing it.
‘These drugs are not about having fun – it’s killing people.
‘We would urge anyone who has these tablets to hand them in to the police and to say where they got them.
‘It’s not grassing and it’s not turning on people, because they are not selling what they say they are. This is about saving lives.
‘We just want to raise as much awareness of this as we can. If we can save just one life, it will be worth it.’
Three other 15-year-olds who had been with her were taken to hospital at the same time.
One girl who had been in a serious condition was said to have improved, while a boy and a third girl responded well to treatment following the incident in Cornwall.
Two boys aged 17 have been arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug.
The tragedy follows the death last month of Hannah Bragg, 15, in Tavistock, Devon, after taking ecstasy at a party celebrating the end of exams, as fears mount about the growth of ‘county lines’ networks in which urban drug dealers branch out into rural areas.
Miss Pellow, from Camborne, is thought to have been out with friends in a local park before she became seriously ill.
Ecstasy can give a feeling of euphoria, but even pure supplies may be dangerously powerful and cause overheating or lead to an overdose.
Experts say pills supplied by dealers may also contain poisons, heroin, or other potentially lethal substances. In a tribute on social media, Miss Pellow’s sister Nikita Rundle said: ‘Such a young soul, I have so much love for you my baby sister!
‘You will always hold a strong place in my heart forever and always. You were too young to be taken away from this world so soon, you had a long and happy life ahead of you! RIP my beautiful angel.’
Miss Pellow’s mother, Rita Hole, said: ‘Baby, mummy and your sisters love you so much. Please come home my baby.’ Another relation, Jenna Pellow, added: ‘Sleep tight beautiful girl. A life taken far too soon.’
Friend Lee Butcher said: ‘You touched my heart and soul. Love you so much.’
Claire Harding Watts said: ‘So sad… our best friends in Cornwall… their little sister – speak to your kids about drugs, this can happen to any family.’
Paramedics were called after Miss Pellow collapsed in Camborne on Friday at 10.40pm, and she was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro with the three other 15-year-olds.
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: ‘All four teenagers are believed to have taken the same unknown substance, which police have seized and will be subject to further examination.’
Detective Superintendent Roy Linden added: ‘This is a truly tragic incident in which a young girl has lost her life.
‘We want to warn children and young people of the dangers surrounding taking drugs. This is a tragic incident, and we do not wish anyone in our community to go through the same ordeal.’ The 17-year-olds arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs are from Redruth and Camborne.
A local drug worker said Miss Pellow had swallowed a triangular blue tablet with the logo of Duplo – a version of Lego for toddlers – embossed on it.
Ecstasy can cause a number of other adverse symptoms, including fits and severe irritability.
Locals said that the area where the children were found was known to have a drugs problem.
Her organs failed and she died in her mother’s arms after suffering a third heart attack in the early hours of Saturday.
In a touching joint statement her devastated family said: ‘As the family of Shakira Louise Pellow, we are all devastated about the circumstance of her death and we want to raise with the risks of taking drugs.
‘Shakira was a young, bubbly girl with her whole life ahead of her.
‘Words can not even explain how we are all feeling at this time, we are all absolutely heartbroken.
‘We were four months away from celebrating her 16th birthday, planning a big party with all her family and friends.
‘Like any other teenager, she was demanding and a pain in the a***, but on the flip side she knew how to make everyone laugh and her smile lit a room as soon as she entered.
‘She was well loved by her whole family and friends.
‘She lived with her mum Rita and her [mum’s] partner Lee, and enjoyed quality time with her dad Shaun.
‘Rita says she is absolutely heart broken.
‘Not only has she lost her daughter, she has lost her soulmate and best friend and can’t imagine life without her.
‘She had a niece and two nephews: Tanisha, Tyreece and Theo.
‘She spent a lot of time with her eldest sister Jessica and brother in law Marcus.
‘Jess said she and Shakira were two peas in a pod and were forever making jokes and having a laugh.
‘Shakira was also close with her other sister Nikita. They had a love/hate relationship but at the end of the day they always had each others back.
‘On Friday evening, Shakira was excited to meet up with her friends.