Girl ‘told friend she took three blue pills’ before death

The friend said she spoke to 13-year-old Grace Handling on the phone around 8pm on June 28, 2018.

A schoolgirl who was allegedly killed with ecstasy supplied to her by a teenager told a friend she had taken three blue pills, a court has been told.

The friend was giving evidence at the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday, at the trial of Callum Owens, 19, who denies the culpable homicide of 13-year-old Grace Handling, from Irvine in Ayrshire, by supplying her with the drug.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she spoke to Grace on the phone around 8pm on June 28, 2018.

She told prosecutor Alex Prentice QC: “She couldn’t get any of her words out, she was slurring her words.

“She told me she had took three blue pills. I knew she meant ecstasy. She said she was at home, but I could tell she wasn’t.”

Mr Prentice asked the witness: “Did you ask her where she got the pills from?” and the 15-year-old replied: “She wouldn’t tell me. She said she didn’t know.”

The girl said she tried later to contact Grace by text and phone to make sure she was alright, but got no reply.

Defence QC Donald Findlay said to the girl: “You knew she had taken ecstasy,” and she said: “Yes, not regularly but she had done it a few times.”

The QC then asked: “Did you see her take the pills or did she tell you?” The schoolgirl replied: “A combination.”

Mr Findlay said: “Prior to June 2018 when did you first become aware of Grace dabbling with or taking Ecstasy?” The girl replied: “I’m not sure a few months, maybe six months before.”

Owens, of Arran Place, Irvine, Ayrshire, denies the culpable homicide of Grace, from Irvine, by recklessly and unlawfully supplying a lethal drug to her on June 28, 2018 .

Prosecutors state that Grace ingested the drug to the danger of her health, safety and life and died as a consequence of this and Owens killed her.

He is also accused of being concerned in the supply of ecstasy from addresses in Irvine and at Largs train station between June 25 and 29, 2018.

Earlier Grace’s mother Lorraine Handling, 47, a music tutor, told the court her daughter had been at Troon beach with friends on June 28, 2018.

Mrs Handling said she collected her from there at 3.45pm because it was too hot for fair-skinned Grace.

She said her daughter had a shower changed her clothes and ate a cheese salad before going out again at 5pm.

Mr Prentice said: “How was she?” Mrs Handling replied: “She was good, she was fine.”

The prosecutor then asked: “Did she appear intoxicated?” and she said: “No, absolutely not.”

Mr Prentice said: “Was that the last time you saw her?” and she replied: “Yes.”

The court heard Grace did not return home and her parents phoned round her friends looking for her without success and reported her missing the next day.

Mr Findlay asked Mrs Handling: “You are aware your daughter Grace died because of the effects of a drug on her?” and she replied: “I was told it was MDMA – ecstasy.”

The QC added: “Were you aware she had taken ecstasy prior to June 28, 2018,” and Mrs Handling replied: “She told me she had taken it once. I didn’t know if she had. She told me she took it and she wasn’t very well.”

The QC then asked if in June 2018 she hoped that Grace had stopped taking drugs and Mrs Handling said: “I was never sure she had taken them before.

Mr Findlay said: “Did you tell the police you thought Grace had taken Ecstasy twice?” The witness replied: “Yes, I thought she had. I was never 100% sure.”

Mrs Handling admitted that her daughter self-harmed and had an alcohol problem.

Mr Findlay asked her: “Were you aware Grace had tried to commit suicide?” She replied: “I don’t think it was a suicide attempt, I think she was just crying out for help.”

The trial before Lord Matthews continues.

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