Mum’s heartache as ‘perfect’ son, 14, dies after taking ‘Punisher’ ecstasy pill

A mum has told of her family’s heartbreak after her 14-year-old son took ecstasy at a party and died.

Alex Buchan had fatal levels of MDMA in his system when he was found at the Holbeach, Lincolnshire, home of 21-year-old party host Sam King in April 2019, a court heard.

Next to his body was an ecstasy tablet stamped with the skull logo of the Marvel comic book character The Punisher, LincolnshireLive reports.

King, who hosted the party for school age children, and Alastair Turner, 19, who sold drugs to revellers, have now been jailed for a total of almost seven years following the death of the University Holbeach Academy pupil.

But Alex’s mum Lisa said the sentence “isn’t enough” and asked: “What kind of person targets a 14-year-old boy who doesn’t know the risks?”

King and Turner were not charged with causing Alex’s death. They were charged with offences related to the supply of ecstasy.

Speaking after the pair were jailed at Lincoln Crown Court, Alex’s mum Lisa said: “Nobody will understand what this has done to the family; it has destroyed us.

“The sentence isn’t enough. It won’t ever be enough. This will be hanging over me for the rest of my life.”

She added: “My son, who had a heart of gold, is never coming back. People don’t understand the devastation drugs cause families.

“What kind of person targets a 14-year-old boy who doesn’t know the risks? How many children have to die?

“If anything good can come from this, I hope it’s that parents and children see how dangerous drugs can be and that dealers see the potential consequences of what they are doing.”

Turner was sentenced to three years and seven months for possession of ecstasy with intent to supply and a further charge of supplying ecstasy.

King was sentenced to three years for being concerned in the supply of ecstasy and two charges of permitting premises to be used for the supply of drugs.

There was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against King and Turner for Alex’s death.

But Judge John Pini QC said the pair had “moral responsibility” which they would have to life with.

He said: “This is an utterly tragic case. It involves the loss of a very young and much loved life.

“Neither defendant has been charged in relation to Alex’s death and the sentence the court imposes cannot reflect the death.

“However you will have the moral responsibility for Alex Buchan’s death on your conscience for the rest of your lives.

“You worked in concert so that the parties would be attended by people of school age. The targeting of young people of school age is a very seriously aggravating feature of this case.”

The judge said the case highlighted the “profound danger” of taking Class A drugs.

UK police agencies have issued a number of warnings in recent years about super strength ecstasy tablets bearing the skull logo of The Punisher.

In July 2019, police issued a warning after the pills were linked to the death of a 14-year-old schoolgirl from Wirral and three people suffering “adverse effects” in Lancashire.

At the time, the pills were said to be three times stronger than the normal drug selling for as little as £5 each.

Just days earlier, police urged people not to take the pills following the death of a 19-year-old man on the Isle of Wight in June 2019.

In May 2018, a warning was issued after blue triangular tablets were tested and found to be “very strong” with 300mg of MDMA.

Drug users were told the tablets could result in death.