Drug user spared prison after supplying fatal dose of MDMA to his cousin

A crane driver who handed over drugs which killed his cousin has been left devastated by the loss of a relative he regarded as his best friend

John Angus, who supplied a fatal dose of MDMA to his cousin
John Angus, who supplied a fatal dose of MDMA to his cousin

A crane driver has been spared prison after he admitted giving his cousin the drugs which killed him.

John Angus and Gareth Balmbra were relatives, best friends and regular recreational drug useres.

But when Angus gave Gareth, 30, some MDMA powder one night, he went into cardiac arrest and died.

Now Angus, left devastated by the loss of the man he grew up with, has admitted supplying the fatal dose.

Sentencing him at Newcastle Crown Court, Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC said: “Time and again experience shows drugs cause misery and death. Class A drugs kill people and this is a tragedy from which other’s ought also to learn.”

The pair had been at Angus’ home in Alnwick last December when he offered Gareth some MDMA powder left over from the previous weekend.

The court heard Gareth said he wanted the drugs but a short time after swallowing them, he became unwell.

Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: “In interview with police, the defendant said the deceased made a cone from a Rizla paper and poured it into his mouth.

“He finished his can of lager and a short time later became unwell, he was sweating and having spasms. The defendant said Mr Balmbra thought he was okay and he got him some water.

“He then collapsed on the floor and stopped breathing.”

Angus rang 999 and frantically tried to revive his cousin until the ambulance arrived.

Mr Balmbra was taken to Wansbeck Hospital, in Ashington, with Angus at his side, but nothing could be done to save him.

Angus, whose uncle is the partner of Mr Balmbra’s mother, said they had taken drugs together for years.

The 31-year-old, of Upper Barresdale, Alnwick, pleaded guilty to supplying a class A drug and was given 12 months prison, suspended for two years, with 200 hours unpaid work and supervision.

Jamie Adams, defending, said: “They had spent their lives together, doing all the things that boys do and, unhappily, also taking drugs. There could not be a more tragic example of this kind of thing that this.

“Although it’s technically supplying, it was a sharing of drugs from a previous amount of it, it was not supplying for profit.

“This has brought home to him exactly what the dangers are. There could be no sterner, more horrible lesson, than this one.”


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