Two teenagers who sold illicit drugs bought on darknet marketplaces have escaped jail time for the death of Luke Campbell-Tapson, a 16-year-old student, killing him at a youth disco. 18-year-old Daniel Kennett of Powlers Piece, Putford, and an accomplice both sold Luke Campbell four MDMA tablets for £10 each. As a result of the overdose he died. However, they will not be heading to prison because the victim’s family pleaded for mercy.
Luke Campbell-Tapson died on the 26th of May last year after he collapsed at the dance in Ilfracombe. He ingested three of his four ecstasy pills supplied to him by Kennett. Ecstasy is a popular drug worldwide but many deadly darknet MDMA purchases have been made in Europe.
According to prosecutor Llewellyn Sellick, Luke visited his friend Kennett on the 24th of May last year and asked to buy some pills to celebrate finishing his exams and leaving school. Kennett then sold him the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ shaped ecstasy pills. He also warned him that they were more powerful than anything he received in the past.
Luke and a friend then went to the Ilfracombe based nightclub, Vivid. He stated that he took one of the pills before coming into the nightclub and later added that he had taken three pills in total. Just minutes before midnight, he collapsed and was taken to a hospital and unfortunately died the next morning. His cause of death was declared as overdose toxicity.
The young drug dealers were heading to prison. However, Recorder Mr. Timothy Rose received a plea from Luke’s sister Esther. She stated that even though her brother’s death left an ‘enormous hole in their lives’, the family wasn’t seeking revenge for the darknet drug death. The family could not bear the burden of ruining two more young lives.
She added that sending the kids to jail was a heavy price to pay for their actions and that would worsen the emotional impact on them.
“We are not here today seeking vengeance. The tablets were stronger than [my brother] realized and he took far too many. Luke would not want his friends held accountable for what happened to him that night,” she concluded.
Esther and Luke’s family were commended by the judge for their dignity and compassion and stated that Esther’s letter showed ‘enormous sensitivity and forgiveness’.
He proceeded to the sentencing. But instead, they received a warning.
“You did not know what was in the pills. You were taking it on trust. It was reckless in the extreme,” he told them. “But it was kindness and compassion that brings us here today.”
Kennett and his 17-year-old partner, whose name was withheld because of his age confessed to the police with Kennett stating that he bought the ecstasy from a friend who bought them on the darknet with bitcoin wallets so to create anonymity and cover their tracks.
He also revealed that he and his partner had been dealing illicit drugs for almost five months now, buying 25 tablets of ecstasy for £60 and then selling them for £10 each. No BTC debit cards were discovered, only the money.
Richard Crabb, representing Kennett stated that Luke’s death had a significant impact on the teen’s life and he was greatly overwhelmed by remorse because he lost a good friend.
Kennett was sent to juvenile detention or a year and six months but had the sentence suspended for two years pending good behaviour and probation.
According to Recorder Rose, he was the one with the greater criminal responsibility because he was the one who directly sold the drug to Luke. He faced two charges and was ordered to do 200 hours of community service work. Suspended sentences and community service is very popular from the judicial system as seen in the case of the IT Wizard drug dealer.
His partner of this top darknet crime was given a two-year youth rehabilitation order with supervision including an activity requirement for 24 hours. He was also placed under home curfew for six months. Paul Grumbar, representing him stated that his client was a ‘gentle boy’ who never wished any harm on anybody.