The bereaved mother of a 15-year-old who died after taking drugs has successfully fought for a change in the law - calling it "something good out of something so tragic".

Schoolgirl Leah Heyes took a fatal dose of the drug MDMA in Applegarth car park, Northallerton, in May 2019 while out with friends.

Following Leah's tragic death, two teenagers, Mitchell Southern and Connor Kirkwood, were sentenced to spend time at young offenders' institutions for supplying her with the drug.

Southern was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders' institute while Kirkwood was sentenced to 21 months detention - but Leah's mum, Kerry Roberts, believes these sentences were too lenient.

The Northern Echo: Leah Heyes and her mum Kerry RobertsLeah Heyes and her mum Kerry Roberts (Image: FAMILY)

Since her daughter's death, Ms Roberts has been campaigning for 'Leah's Law' - aiming to change legislation to provide tougher punishments for people who supply drugs to people aged 18 years old and younger.

After years of campaigning, the guidelines have now been changed, which means that supplying drugs to a child under 16 could be considered an "aggravating factor" at sentencing.

Before this change, courts considered the age of the victim when considering sentencing - but this new change in the law will make it clearer. 

Following the Ministry of Justice's decision, Ms Roberts has called it a "significant step forward" and welcomed the news - which she says will be "Leah's legacy". 

The Northern Echo: Kerry has reignited the Leah's Law campaignKerry has reignited the Leah's Law campaign (Image: FAMILY)

She said: "This is a major milestone in the campaign - after asking for change, there is finally more discretion when it comes to sentencing people who have supplied drugs to teenagers.

"This will act as a deterrent to people who supply drugs, but it will also mean tougher punishments - it's at the judge's discretion. 

"The law change is something good out of something so tragic."

Now that the campaign has led to a change in the law, Ms Roberts now hopes to help by having "open and honest" talks with schoolchildren over drugs and wants Leah's story to become a "first-hand experience" for teenagers. 

Describing Leah, who aspired to be a beautician, as "so much fun" and "the most loving and caring girl", Kerry also opened up about the "everyday heartache" that she carries around over her daughter's death. 

The Northern Echo: Leah HeyesLeah Heyes (Image: FAMILY)

Ms Roberts, who was pregnant at the time of Leah's death, added: "When Leah died, she was so happy to become a sister - but she never got the chance to meet her sibling. 

"No parent should ever go through what I did - there is no same way of dealing with grief and any parent that has lost a child to drugs deals with it in their own way.

"Some days I do feel like I can't do it any more - but my message to people who have been through this is that it does get better. When it comes up to the anniversary of Leah's death it's always difficult but we need to continue to have these honest conversations and make a change in the law and legislation."

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Ms Roberts' campaign has been pushed forward by the MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake. 

The Supply of Drugs to Children Under 16 (Aggravated Offence) Bill, resulted in the government writing to the Sentencing Council for England and Wales to recommend the sentencing guidelines made clear supplying drugs to a child was an aggravating factor, which was introduced in April.

In a response to Ms Roberts on social media, Mr Hollinrake said: "You should be very proud of all your work to turn your family's tragedy into something positive, Kerry. I'm pleased to have been a part of helping you make this happen and hope this serves to save more innocent lives."