Woman to be sentenced for supplying drug which killed friend on night out in Sheffield

A woman is to be sentenced today for supplying a friend with a drug which killed her on a night out in the city.  

Joana Burns, aged 22, was celebrating finishing her final year of a maths degree at Sheffield Hallam University when she died after taking £7 worth of MDMA – ecstasy – last June.

Joana Burns died after taking drugs on a night out in Sheffield

Joana Burns died after taking drugs on a night out in Sheffield

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Her friend Katherine Lavin, 21, of Kentmore Close, Stockport, has admitted supplying the drug to Joana.

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And former student, Benjamin Williams, 25, of Melbourne Road, Crookes, has admitted supplying Lavin, who then passed the drug on.

COURT: Woman faces jail for supplying drug to friend who died on night out in Sheffield

Both have been told that prison sentences are a possibility when they are sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court later today.

Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told them last month: "These are serious matters. All sentencing options remain open and that includes being sent to prison."

In May, an inquest heard how Joana was with a group of friends who all agreed to take the drug as they went out for a ‘final fling’.

Lavin, who was part of the group, bought the ecstasy a powder form, which they each then made into individual ‘bombs’ using cigarette paper, Sheffield Coroner's Court was told.

Joana's boyfriend, Lewis Birch, told the hearing how she had taken the ecstasy willingly and he thought it was probably the third time she had taken it.

He said she took one ‘bomb’  before arriving at Sheffield University students' union building and another at the venue.

Witnesses said she vomited that one straight back up before she started fitting.

Pathologist Kim Suvarna told the inquest the drug probably reacted with enzymes in her body, causing it to overheat.

Dr Suvarna said: "There's no such thing as a safe drug, particularly with this kind of psychoactive substance."

He told the coroner: "The young tend to believe they can do things they wish because they are young and immortal.

"Unfortunately, that doesn't apply."

An verdict of ‘misadventure’ was recorded.

Joana’s mum, Mosca Burns, from Alfreton, Derbyshire, has previously said that she hoped Joana, who wanted to be a maths teacher, would be remembered more as an inspiration for girls to take up maths rather than as a victim of illegal drugs.
Another of Mrs Burns’ daughters died two months after Joana’s death after committing suicide,