Grace Handling: Not proven verdict in teenager ecstasy death trial

image copyrightStewart Handling

A verdict of not proven has been reached in a trial against a teenager accused of killing a 13-year-old girl by supplying her with ecstasy.

Callum Owens, who is 19, has been acquitted of killing Grace Handling at a house party in Irvine in June 2018.

Mr Owens denied culpable homicide but admitted to police he had given her the pills, the court heard.

The trial heard Grace had enough of the drug in her system that would be fatal not just to a child, but to an adult.

Before the jury came back with its verdict Grace's father Stewart knelt in prayer.

'Our lives changed forever'

Outside the court he sobbed as a statement on behalf of him and his family was read out by Anne-Marie Cocozza of the charity Fams.

It said: "Grace was an amazing young girl and a very loving and caring daughter. Our lives changed forever on the evening of 29 June, 2018. We will never get over the sudden loss of our daughter.

"I didn't even get to say goodbye. Whether the accused Callum Owens today was found guilty, not guilty or not proven it will not bring our daughter back home again."

Grace Handlingimage copyrightThe Handling family

The four-day trial had heard that teenager Grace died on the last day of school before the summer holiday.

She had attended a gathering at the home of the accused where she told a friend she had taken three blue pills.

The court heard that Grace, who died of ecstasy intoxication, had taken the drug before in the months leading to her death and her mother and big sister Danielle, 20, had both warned her of the dangers.

Grace's friend told the court that she spoke to her on the phone at about 20:00 on 28 June.

She said: "She couldn't get any of her words out, she was slurring her words.

The schoolgirl said she later tried to contact Grace by text and phone but got no reply.

Trainee chef Mr Owens admitted to police that Grace had been at his home in Arran Place the night before she was found dead.

He was interviewed by officers the day after Grace's body was found there.

Det Sgt Euan Bell said he told him: "I sold her the pills. No, wait. I didn't sell the pills, I gave her them."

During the interview, he was asked if he carried out CPR on Grace and he said he had.

The teenager was then asked if he had attempted to seek medical help for the schoolgirl. He replied: "No."

Pathologist Dr John Williams, who carried out a post-mortem examination of Grace on 4 July 2018, told the court that the cause of death was ecstasy intoxication.

Dr Williams said Grace had suffered a fine linear skull fracture and a blood sample revealed a very high level of ecstasy and a trace of cannabis.

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