Tributes to ‘one of a kind’ teen who died along with three others ‘after taking MDMA’

Tributes have been paid to a teenager who was one of four killed in drug death tragedies.

The latest victim has been named locally as Mark Johnston.

Mark, 18, had been with friends at an upstairs flat in Washington, Tyne and Wear, in the early hours of Saturday
morning.

Police believe he took a quantity of MDMA and fell seriously ill at 3.50pm on Saturday at the flat.

Two women, believed to be family members, rushed to the scene.

Neighbours described their distress after one briefly got into the ambulance with Mark.

Online tributes included: “Rip Mark Johnston one of a kind.” Another wrote: “Rest easy my friend. You will be missed.”

He became the third of four young people in the Newcastle area to die as a result of taking drugs on a weekend of tragedy.

Mark’s death left neighbours around the flat devastated and furious.

One tenant said: “For the past 18 months it’s a horrible place to live because there has been nothing but noise, drunkenness and disruption to everyone’s lives.

“There was a part there in the early hours of Saturday, it looked as though there were a lot of people in the flat, a mixed group of young men and women.

“Then suddenly in the afternoon ambulances started turning up and a young lad was carried out.”

The distress of the two women, believed to be Mark’s relatives, will stay with her for a long time.

“It was absolutely awful,” she said.

“He was no more than a boy, a young lad, and he’s lost his life needlessly. I feel so sorry for his family, they were distraught. Anyone who saw that happening wouldn’t go near drugs again in their life.”

Mark was a former pupil at Biddick School in Washington and only turned 18 during the summer. He was described by a member of his family as a “kind, nice, funny young lad.”

Police investigating the tragic deaths of four young people at the weekend in the North east have made an 11th arrest on suspicion of drugs-related offences.

Northumbria Police said inquiries were ongoing into the deaths of two 18-year-old women, who were found unresponsive in the same Newcastle University student accommodation, and two men believed to have taken MDMA in the city, and Washington.

The women were first years who had been in the city for less than 48 hours, and were suspected of taking ketamine. One of them was Jeni Larmour, described by her former school where she was deputy headgirl, as a “model pupil”.

The Royal School in Armagh, Northern Ireland, said: “We have no doubt that, given her academic ability and personality, Jeni had a bright future ahead of her and we are saddened that it has been so suddenly cut short.”

Ms Larmour’s mother worked at Ulster Carpets, a manufacturer in Co Armagh. A company statement said: “This is a private family matter and our thoughts are with them at this distressing time.

“Sandra Larmour is a long-standing employee with Ulster Carpets. Her colleagues are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of her daughter Jeni and the Company will support Sandra in whatever way we can.”

Over the same weekend, police confirmed an 18-year-old from Washington, Tyne and Wear – who was not a student, and a 21-year-old from Northumbria University died after they were suspected of separately taking MDMA.

Northumbria Police said officers would not be releasing any of the identities of the young people who died at this stage.

Police made 10 arrests for drugs-related offences over the weekend, and on Tuesday held a 30-year-old man on suspicion of supplying a Class A drug.

More searches of student blocks have been carried out by the police.

Chief inspector Steve Wykes urged any students who have illegal drugs to dispose of them safely, either by contacting a university welfare officer or by visiting their local police station.

He said: “We are all still in shock at what has been an incredibly sad and difficult weekend. Public safety is our absolute priority and we are working closely with our partners at the universities and in the local authorities to ensure all students and everyone living in our local communities are fully supported at this time.”