'Cannibal zombie’ drug Flakka leaves three teens fighting for life, friend's mother delays calling for help

The woman admitted to child cruelty but escaped with a 16-month sentence suspended for two years as the boys knew they were taking drugs


                            'Cannibal zombie’ drug Flakka leaves three teens fighting for life,
friend's mother delays calling for help
(Getty Images)

A ‘selfish’ woman from Greater Manchester has admitted to child cruelty at Minshull Street Crown Court as she left three teenage boys fighting for their lives after they took the ‘cannibal zombie’ drug Flakka.

The incident happened last year in January when the boys were staying at Julie Birtwistle’s home in Bury, Greater Manchester. The teens - aged 14 and 15 - started taking the synthetic Alpha PVP pills while Birtwistle was asleep. They found the ecstasy-like pills in Birtwistle’s son, Bricklayer Williams’, stash in a shoebox in the lounge.

Birtwistle admitted to child cruelty but escaped with a 16-month sentence suspended for two years as the boys knew they were taking drugs.

Williams has also admitted to possessing drugs with intent to supply and has been jailed for 22 months.

Finding the drugs were ecstasy, the teens started consuming the pills at 9 pm and carried on swallowing half a pill every half an hour up to 4 am. However, when things started to take an ugly turn, a friend who was also at the property raised an alarm. The boys had started shaking and complaining of “seeing spiders” and people “wanting to shoot them” after taking 14 pills throughout the night.

The friend called the medics for help, but Birtwistle cut them off saying, “We're okay thank you - sorry about that." Shortly after that, Williams also came to the property and saw the boys going in and out of his mother's room and being told to go back to bed.

However, when the boys’ state continued to worsen, Birtwistle agreed to call for an ambulance the next morning. The two boys were then soon rushed to the A&E department of North Manchester General Hospital as they seem significantly agitated and had severe paranoid thoughts. The third boy, who was co-operating initially, later developed "abnormal facial twitching and a blanching red facial rash,” said prosecuting, Geoff Whelan.

Whelan added that the synthetic drug had a severe impact and was life-threatening. “It took five members of staff to restrain him so that he did not harm himself or other people,” said Whelan as he spoke about one of the boys.

“The condition of the three boys was judged so serious they had to be put into induced comas and it was uncertain they would survive.”

A total of 485 tablets was recovered from Birtwistle’s house by police, which would have been sold on the street for £10 a pill.

Flakka, a dirt-cheap drug, can cause racing heart rate, agitation, high blood pressure, hallucination, and delirium. It can prove fatal, especially when combined with other drugs. The class B man-made drug is extremely addictive that gets imported from China. Intake of Flakka leads to zombie-like psychotic breaks and cannibalistic attacks. One such example of the after-effects of the drug is the last year's case of the Brazilian medical student, who was rushed to hospital as he tried to gouge his eyes out and also tried to chop off his penis in the street after breaking up with his girlfriend.

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