A teenage girl died from an overdose of heroin and pills after getting hooked on drugs – aged ELEVEN.
Denise Shepherd started smoking cannabis before even starting secondary school and progressed to harder drugs as she fell in with the wrong crowd.
She was 19 when she was found dead by boyfriend Jamie Hayne when he woke in the early hours and discovered she had stopped breathing.
Her mother Joann Bell told a coroner how she had moved home with her to Eastbourne, East Sussex, in an attempt to get her off drugs.
But two days before her death Joann left the house she had been sharing with her daughter and boyfriend.
She said: “They became increasingly difficult to live with. I struggled financially because they came to me for food.”
She told coroner Alan Craze at Eastbourne Magistrates Court how Denise had smoked cannabis from an early age.
Speaking after the inquest, Joann said her daughter had fallen in with the wrong crowd when she was very young.
She said: “It is so difficult. People won’t talk to their parents about drugs.
“I tried to sit down and talk to her calmly but I never was aware exactly what was going on. I wouldn’t have moved out if I had known.
“She was gullible, naive and easily-led.
“She would be an aunty now. Her brother is now a father. She would have loved being an aunty.”
Mr. Craze recorded a verdict of death due to dependence on drugs.