The distraught mother of 15-year-old Leah Heyes says the birth of a new baby saved her from heartbreak.

Kerry said she had just returned from a two-night stay in hospital in connection with her pregnancy when she received the phone call that every parent dreads, to tell her Leah had died after taking the drug, MDMA.

While her world fell apart, she took strength from her unborn child, and after the conclusion of a coroner's inquest today into the drug-death of her daughter, she has also spoken out about the dangers of drugs, warning that children are dying.

"I hope that no other parent has to go through the nightmare I have endured since May 11, 2019 when Leah died. Children do not know about the dangers of drugs."

She said her baby daughter, Ava Leah Rose, saved her during the tragic time: "I always say she saved me, I could have gone any way but I didn’t I wanted to look after her, my partner and family have been brilliant, I have had a lot of support so much support."

Paramedics were called to the Applegarth car park in Northallerton in May 2019 and battled to save Leah, but she died in hospital.

The Northern Echo:

Kerry says she does not believe Leah had tried MDMA before, and had got it that night for "just a few pounds".

Two teenagers Mitchell Southern and Connor Kirkwood have admitted being involved in supplying the drug to Leah, they are due to be sentenced on November 16.

Kerry said: “Leah did arrange with friends to do this. I think she wanted to try it and she got it easily. I don’t know why she didn’t tell me about this. I didn’t know if it was because I was ill she didn’t speak to me about it.

"I think in Leah’s case it was to impress maybe one of those boys, people need to think and realise how dangerous it is, it’s not just a bit of fun with your friends. Talking needs to happen more often this shouldn’t be happening.

“Children are dying because they don’t know about it, Leah has seen people doing it and getting away with it on a regular basis and she didn’t know what she was doing. That really is it, she didn’t realise the dangers. Even though I thought we had spoken about things enough, there wasn’t enough to put her off.”

Kerry described Leah as her best friend as well as her daughter, someone who had everything to live for.

The Northern Echo:

“Leah knew I was going to have a baby, she was going to come to a scan with me the week after she died. She was so excited but she didn’t know she would have a sister. She was very bubbly, she laughed a lot, she was 15 and obviously we had our arguments but she was really loving she was like my best friend. For a long time it was just me and her, we had a really good open relationship we spoke about all different drugs, not MDMA specifically though.”

The tragedy has been followed by the deaths of two other teenagers in North Yorkshire which have been linked to of MDMA.

At the beginning of October four students in the North East died, two males aged 18 and 21 with MDMA found nearby and two 18-year-old girls whose deaths are understood to be connected to Ketamine.

“It is too many, it is shocking," said Kerry. "What I want is that it doesn’t happen to anybody else. We need to remind people, they haven’t forgotten, but it fades for them, for me it’s everyday.” she adds.

Kerry has now joined forces with Julia Mulligan, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, to hammer home the message about the dangers of drugs.

She said: “I think parents don’t know how easy it is for kids to access drugs and how cheap it is, when we were younger it was a bottle of alcohol or something.

The Northern Echo:

"It is so easy to get I don’t think we know enough, people think of cannabis or cocaine, we don’t know about MDMA and we should try and find out more and what it is.

"It is only when something awful happens, no one thinks about it or says anything about it so it takes something bad to happen for people to take it seriously.

“If one person listens to me and doesn’t do it, doesn’t take it that is all I want or if parents listen to me and speak to their kids and it stops even one person doing it then that is all I want, it can’t happen to somebody else, no parent should lose their child in this way,” added Kerry.

Ms Mulligan fears children are dying because not enough is known and research isn’t being done.

She added: “There’s a lot of focus on county lines drugs, crack cocaine, heroine but there are a lot of other drugs in circulation that are causing damage and death, and I think while a lot of work has been done on county lines drugs we need to focus on those other drugs as well which are causing a lot of harm and we need to understand that better.

The Northern Echo:

"On a human level you can’t fail but to be shocked as a parent you put yourself in Kerry’s shoes and can’t imagine how awful it must be.

"In this job you see a lot of bad things we must not be complacent around this we need to take it seriously.

"Kerry has a really powerful story to tell and I hope it has the impact we want, it is my job to support her and encourage the authorities in the county to take this seriously. Parents need to have those conversations with their children, kids may shrug their shoulders, but parents have to emphasise this and point to what has happened to Leah, and this all happened in the space of a couple of minutes."