UK & World News
Mourning Mum In Call To Legalise Drugs
A single mother who lost her only child after she took MDMA is calling for drugs to be legalised and regulated.
Martha Fernback was just 15 when she died after swallowing half a gram of the powder - better known as ecstasy - in July last year.
A verdict of accidental death was recorded at Oxford Coroner's Court after a short hearing.
In a statement following her daughter's inquest, Anne-Marie Cockburn said: "It has been 328 days since my precious girl was safely by my side.
"Martha wanted to get high, she didn't want to die - no parent wants either, but one of those is preferable to the other.
"I wish Martha was sitting her GCSEs alongside her friends at school right now.
"I wish the drug education she received had enabled her to make a more fully informed decision, instead of leaving her so vulnerable and in danger.
"I would like to meet with Theresa May, Norman Baker and Yvette Cooper to start a sensible dialogue for change, from prohibition to strict and responsible regulation of recreational drugs.
"This will help to safeguard our children and lead to a safer society for us all by putting doctors and pharmacists, not dealers, in control of drugs."
The drug that killed the teenager was unusually high in its purity.
On a website set up in her daughter's memory, Ms Cockburn said: "Free drug testing facilities should be widely available in order to fully educate young people and, by putting some safeguarding measures in place, levels of harm are significantly reduced.
"Had Martha been able to access drugs that had been legally produced and labelled accordingly, she would have been able to make a more informed decision - in fact, I'd go as far as to say that she might still be alive."
The inquest heard how the MDMA powder that Martha took was 91% pure and doctors found that the concentration of the drug in her blood was "very high".
The hearing was told that the purity level would normally be around 58%.
After she had taken the drug, Martha had told friends it "was amazing ... it feels like a dream".
But in statements read out at the hearing her friends said she began to "sweat profusely", her behaviour became "more erratic", and she started to tremble and shiver.
She collapsed in a local park. An ambulance was called, but she was pronounced dead at the the city's John Radcliffe Hospital.
Sky News has approached the Home Office for comment but received no immediate statement.