A DRUG user who caused his girlfriend’s death by injecting her with heroin following an argument has been jailed for 40 months.

Samantha Archer, 43, was more than three times the drink-drive limit and had taken a potentially lethal dose of tramadol before her partner Andrew Williams administered the heroin at her request, in February last year.

The Northern Echo:

Williams, 48, a drug addict for 20 years, pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and of unlawfully and maliciously administering a noxious substance with intent to injure.

He was sentenced to 40 months in prison by a judge at Teesside Crown Court today.

Samantha and Williams had been in a ‘volatile’ relationship, involving arguments and substance misuse, for about a year and they lived close to each other in Hartlepool.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, said: “There was an argument on February 9 last year. Neighbours witnessed the defendant arriving at her home. She was clearly in drink and was berating him for taking a long time to arrive.

“At this time the defendant was injecting both himself and her with heroin which he had just acquired.

“She would take it occasionally.”

He said Williams came downstairs later and was unable to rouse Samantha. He came down a second time and contacted the ambulance. Paramedics tried to resuscitate her but were unsuccessful.

“When police officers arrived at the address the defendant told them he had given her a little more than usual.

“It was the opinion of Dr Egan the pathologist that the heroin had contributed to the death.

“The defendant said he had given her a bit more but not much more heroin than usual. He didn’t know what else she had taken that day. It had been a month since she last used heroin.

“The relationship had been violent at times and he pushed her back on to the settee to calm her down.”

However she had no injuries from violence.

Mr Dry said Rita Archer, Samantha’s mother, was ‘devastated’ and that she had not wanted to give a victim impact statement because ‘she didn’t wish to bare her soul further’.

John Elvidge QC, mitigating on behalf of Williams, called the case ‘desperately tragic’ and said his client accepted his actions in administering heroin were unlawful, but that he had never tried to conceal it.

He said the heroin was just one of several substances which Samantha had taken which worked together to cause her death.

“The defendant didn’t intend to cause harm at all,” he said. “He would do anything to bring Samantha back to life and he acknowledges the pain her loss will have caused her mother.”

Williams, of Benson Street, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, had an overwhelming sense of remorse, he said.

Judge Simon Bourne Arton said: “Those who take drugs are likely to run the risk of death. This is undoubtedly a tragic case.

“You caused her death. Her mother, who is in court, now no longer has a daughter who she loves and you have brought about that misery for her.

“I have no doubt you knew when you injected her that she was…drunk.

“You injected her because that is what you did. She has asked you to inject her not only on this occasion but on previous occasions.

“You and she have led a sad life beset by drugs and other addiction.”

He said he had taken the mental health problems of Williams, who since Samantha’s death had become a born again Christian, into account when sentencing him to 40 months behind bars.

After the case Det Sgt Mark Hanson, said: “This is a tragic case that led to Samantha’s untimely death at just 43.

“Sadly it highlights the potentially deadly consequences of controlled drugs.

“Andrew Williams will have to live with his actions for the rest of his life and Samantha’s family will have to live without her for the rest of their lives.”