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Rebecca Tollan: New mother died after taking cocaine on first night out after giving birth

Barry McAuley, 40, and Martin Stewart, 34, are accused of culpable homicide after allegedly giving the potentially deadly class A narcotic to her
UPDATED NOV 10, 2022
Rebecca Tollan, 23, had given birth just a few weeks ago before she died (Facebook/Rebecca Tollan)
Rebecca Tollan, 23, had given birth just a few weeks ago before she died (Facebook/Rebecca Tollan)

LANARKSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM: Rebecca Tollan, a new mother died after ingesting cocaine on her first night out after giving birth to her baby, a UK court heard. In July 2019, Rebecca, 23, died suddenly at a residence in Bellshill, Lanarkshire. She was partying with her sister-in-law and two other men in a pub prior to that. 

On November 7, the trial for the two accused men, Barry McAuley, 40, and Martin Stewart, 34, began. Both are charged with culpable homicide for administering the potentially deadly class A narcotic to her on July 14 and July 15 in 2019, "recklessly and unlawfully." The incident is said to have occurred at the Bellshill residence as well as the Railway Tavern in Motherwell, Lanarkshire. 


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The claims were refuted in Glasgow's High Court by McAuley and Stewart as per Daily Mail. Pamela Tollan, 31, Rebecca's sister-in-law, was the trial's first witness. On July 14, 2019, the women had gone out and found themselves in the Railway Tavern's beer garden. Pamela said in court that 'Becky' was excited to go out for the first time since giving birth to her baby boy only weeks ago. Two drinks were delivered to their table at that time, allegedly by two men who Rebecca originally believed she recognised. After that, Rebecca and Pamela joined them at their table. 

(Facebook/Rebecca Tollan)
Rebecca at her baby shower months before her death(Facebook/Rebecca Tollan)

According to Pamela, they were "having a laugh and a little banter" together. The witness recalled Rebecca asking them if they had any "stuff" after that. “I knew exactly what she meant … asking if they had any cocaine,” the sister-in-law stated. One of the men is said to have produced a "wee bag" of cocaine prior to Tollan disappearing into the restroom to allegedly take the substance. Later, the group went to a nearby residence where the new mother is said to have used more cocaine.

“Becky was her own person. No matter how much you told her, she would not listen,” Pamela said emotionally. “I did tell her: ‘You do not need it … you are having a good time’. I told her to stop because you do not need it.”

(Facebook/Rebecca Tollan)
Rebecca Tollan with her sister-in-law Pamela Tollan at a Christmas party (Facebook/Rebecca Tollan)

Pamela and Tollan had spent some time at the house and were about to depart when the new mother suddenly started trembling and having fits. “Becky started shaking,” Pamela told the court, according to the Mirror. “I just thought she was cold to start with. I was saying: ‘What is happening to her?’ I was shouting: ‘Becky! Becky!’ “

According to Pamela, Stewart, one of the guys charged with giving the cocaine, inquired whether Tollan had epilepsy. “I said no. He put her in the recovery position,” Pamela recalled. She also claimed that Tollan was having “constant” fits and was bleeding from the mouth, possibly because she had bit her own tongue. 

(Facebook/Rebecca Tollan)
 Tollan is said to have used cocaine at a neighbouring residence and a bar prior to her death (Facebook/Rebecca Tollan)

Emergency services were sent to the residence, but they were unable to revive the young mother, who was pronounced dead on July 15. Pamela testified in court that her sister-in-law did not use drugs or alcohol when she was pregnant and that she may have experienced physical exhaustion on her first night out after giving birth.  Both McAuley and Stewart have entered not guilty pleas to the allegation of culpable murder. The trial is still going on before Judge Lord Clark.