The mum of a 15-year-old girl who died after taking a party drug has spoken out after her dealer avoided jail – and says she feels no hatred towards him.
Grief-stricken Rita Hole said she had already come to terms with the fact that Joshua Fletcher-Ward – who sold the pills that killer her daughter Shakira Pellow – would not be sent to prison.
And in a remarkable act of kindness she said she refused to carry forward any hatred towards him for his mistake as he had shown remorse from the day her daughter died.
Fletcher-Ward, 19, sold 15 MDMA tablets to Shakira and her friends who took them in a park before the tragic teen collapsed in July 2018.
She suffered from multiple cardiac arrests and organ failure due to the toxic effects of the drug and died in hospital the next day.
The defendant, who was just 17 at the time, admitted two charges of supplying Class A drugs and was given a two year suspended jail sentence at Truro Crown Court this week.
Rita, of Camborne, Cornwall, said she felt no hatred to the dealer for his “mistake” on that fateful evening.
She said: “What Shakira did by taking the drugs was a mistake but she paid the ultimate price and it cost her her life.
“I can not hold any hatred towards Josh Ward for what he did. He also made a mistake but he has been remorseful through the whole process.
“I guess that is a form of forgiveness from my part. But I need to do that to be able to move forward.
“To be honest, I knew he would not get sent down. I had already told myself that inside.
“I can live with myself him not going to prison as he showed some remorse.
“Nothing is ever going to bring my daughter back and I know he is really sorry. He testified about what he did when it was put to him and owned up to it.
“All the way through he was remorseful.
“In a way I do forgive him as I can not hold this anger in me and I don’t want to live a life feeling any hatred.
“I love my daughter so much and we will never forget her. She is still a big part of our family still.
“But I can not carry the hatred around, I just can not do that. His family have not given me any grief.”
Rita said that while they will never get over the loss of their daughter, she wanted to use her trauma to warn other youngsters of the dangers of drugs and peer pressure to avoid further tragedies.
To hammer home the message, the family released a picture of Shakira hooked up to tubes while fighting for her life on her hospital bed.
Rita added: “I just hope that no other youngster feels pressured to do something. If they are not sure what they doing then say no as it could save your life. That’s the message I want to send out.
“Only a mother who has lost a child can understand how you feel, We told Shakira the risks and she knew them, but she wasn’t on her own that night.
“One of her friends was also ill but survived and they all egged each other on. There was peer pressure among a group of youngsters believing it was never going to happen to them.
“I know my daughter would never have gone near it if she thought it was going to kill her.
“I am just glad the whole court process is now over. It has been hanging over us for way too long. We still struggle every day with losing Shakira. We are never going to get over it.
“Time is most definitely not a healer, but we have just got to learn to live with it.”
Joshua-Ward appeared via a video-link from his home in St Day, Cornwall, on Tuesday to be sentenced as he is paraplegic after a serious bike accident in May last year.
Sentencing him to two years in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Simon Carr said: “Shakira Pellow was a delightful young lady with her whole life ahead of her.
“As a result of taking MDMA you supplied she tragically lost her life. Nothing I can do can help relieve the pain felt by all who knew her.
“This is an object lesson in the horror of Class A drugs. They are not party drugs, not a game, not something you try now and then. They will kill a proportion of those who take them.
“You were only 17 but supplying drugs on a relatively small scale to fund your own habit and for financial gain with no thought of the potential consequences.
“You have showed remorse the best you can to the extent you named someone else you’d supplied to due to concerns over the batch.
“You continue to express remorse and took the step of giving evidence in the trial of your co-defendant.”
A second defendant Oakley Willoughby, 18, who bought the drugs from Fletcher-Ward before passing them on to Shakira, was earlier found guilty at Truro Crown Court after a trial.
The court heard Shakira had previously contacted Fletcher-Ward, a known drug dealer, via Facebook and text messages to get drugs on July 6 2018.
On the evening before she died, the court heard she had been “nervous” about getting the drugs from Ward, so asked her cousin, Willoughby to pick them up.
Shakira and Willoughby then walked to a Tesco car park in Camborne where 15 MDMA pills were handed over by Fletcher-Ward in a car driven by his father.
Shakira then took three of the high-strength pills, called “Duplos”.
Following his trial Willoughby was sentenced to a year in a young offenders’ institute and has since been released.
Representing Fletcher-Ward, Robin Smith said his client remained “absolutely and utterly devastated” by the impact of what he did.
He added: “Nothing he can do can repair the damage he inflicted but he has done everything possible to reflect the remorse he feels.”
Mr Smith added his client made early admissions and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.