The devastated mother of a student who died following a suspected overdose today welcomed a jail term for a woman who allowed youngsters to take drugs in her home – but said true justice would never be done.
Mother-of-four Sharon Nuttall, was jailed for 18 months last week after she let teenagers as young as 16 openly take drugs – including amphetamine and cannabis – at her home in Garton Avenue, South Shore.
Nuttall also supplied drugs during what police described as drugs “parties” at the property.
Detectives launched an investigation into her activities after 20-year-old student Harry Jones was found dead at the property having seemingly taken a “massive ingestion” of the painkiller Tramadol on January 13 last year.
And officers uncovered startling evidence Nuttall, 42, had been openly allowing teenagers to use her home to take drugs for “several years”.
Today Harry’s mother Lorraine told The Gazette: “(I’m) not sure we can say justice has been done as nothing can ever bring Harry back.
“A great light has gone out of our lives forever.
“However, Harry’s family would like to thank the police who have ensured that she can no longer help destroy any more young lives.”
According to those who knew him, Harry Jones had the world at his feet.
Det Insp Nick Connaughton, of Blackpool CID, said: “Harry was an intelligent, bright young man who had a good future ahead of him.
“He was really popular and had an enormous amount of friends. He had a lot going for him – everyone who knew him said the same.”
But when he met Nuttall – and police say they are not sure how that meeting came about – Harry’s family started to notice a change in him.
Following his death a police investigation saw officers interviewing friends and acquaintances of Harry’s as well as others known to have been at Nuttall’s drug parties.
Officers were able to establish there were sometimes up to 20 young people at her South Shore home, taking drugs and being supplied with them.
More and more youngsters in the South Shore area became involved as word of mouth about the sessions at Nuttall’s home spread.
Somewhere, Harry, of The Knowle, North Shore, became one of them.
Preston Crown Court heard last week how Nuttall had, at times, banned Harry from her house. There were also claims from her barrister he would search her house “high and low” for drugs she had hidden.
Police say he had “not been anywhere near” Nuttall’s home for “several months” prior to his death.
But one evening in January, he did return and, following what a court heard was a “massive ingestion” of the painkiller Tramadol, he was found dead in Nuttall’s front room.
His death has left a huge hole in the lives of family and many friends.
“Caring and loving” was how he was described at his funeral.
Friend Ashleigh Alladice said: “There truly wasn’t and never will be anyone like Harry.
“He was the life and soul of the group. He will always be in our hearts and never forgotten.”
The court heard claims Nuttall had not supplied the drugs which are believed to have led to Harry’s death.
But in allowing her home to be used by youngsters from across the area to take drugs – and supplying them to some of the youngsters, Nuttall, in the words of Harry’s mother “gave him the gun” which allowed him to “pull the trigger”.
He is not the only family for who life has changed since Nuttall allowed her home to be used as a drugs den.
Speaking outside court after Nuttall’s sentence was passed, Leeanne Donovan described how she almost lost her daughter.
“She (Nuttall) introduced my daughter to drugs, and openly took them in front of her children as well as others who were in her house,” she said. “What kind of a mother is that?”
Miss Donovan, 47, of Wetherby Avenue, South Shore, said her daughter moved in with Nuttall after her first drug experiences.
She added: “I’m so against drugs and will not have them in my house, so my daughter moved into her (Nuttall’s) house where she could take them.
“Thankfully since all this has happened my daughter has come back to me.”
Miss Donovan said her daughter was now trying to cope with the loss of Harry.
Meanwhile, at Blackpool and The Fylde College, there is a lasting tribute to Harry in the form of a display of the 20-year-old’s work outside their television studio.
A tribute, from his tutor Colin Appleby lays bare the potential the youngster had.
“He certainly had the potential to go beyond our BTEC course and on to university and into the industry, but unfortunately that opportunity was taken away from him,” he said.