Martha Fernback ecstasy death: Mother's plea to parents

Martha Fernback and mum Anne-Marie Cockburn Anne-Marie Cockburn has written a book about her daughter called 5,742 days

The mother of a 15-year-old girl who died a year ago after taking ecstasy, is marking her anniversary by trying to warn others about the dangers of drugs.

Oxford schoolgirl, Martha Fernback, died on 20 July 2013, after swallowing half a gram of 91% pure MDMA powder in the city's Hinksey Park.

Anne-Marie Cockburn has written a book which she hopes will help other parents to talk openly about drugs.

Copies of 5,742 days will be left in public places in Oxford on 19 July.

Ms Cockburn hopes people will take the book - named after the number of days Martha lived - away to read, then bring it back to the same spot for someone else.

Ecstasy - a Class A drug

  • Ecstasy is a stimulant drug sold in tablet or powder form
  • The drug is also known as MDMA or "E"
  • Long-term use has been linked with memory problems, depression and anxiety
  • It affects the body's temperature control and can lead to overheating and dehydration
  • Possession is punishable by up to seven years in jail
  • A life sentence and an unlimited fine can be handed down for supplying the drug

Source: NHS Choices and FRANK

'Radical' advice

Speaking to BBC Radio Oxford, she said: "I don't want to become a bore, but what I am trying to say is the risks when Martha died are still there.

"Talk about drugs and talk about Martha as the example and say half a gram is far, far too much - they almost need to know what not to do if they are going to do it anyway.

"That's radical, but had I been brave enough to have that conversation with Martha, I could still have her here."

She said she had been told the half a gram of 91% pure MDMA powder taken by Martha was "enough for between 5 and 10 people".

To mark her last day spent with Martha at Sandbanks beach in Dorset, the day before she died, Ms Cockburn will also hold a public picnic in the park at Hinksey Lake, where Martha died.

Alex Williams, 17, of Sycamore Road, Botley was handed a community sentence in March for selling drugs following Martha's death.

An inquest into how she died recorded a verdict of accidental death.

You can hear an interview with Ms Cockburn on BBC Radio Oxford, on Sunday morning at 08:00 BST.

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