Man cleared of manslaughter

Gavel and scales
Gavel and scales

A man has been cleared of the manslaughter of a 21-year-old woman who died after taking heroin at her mother’s flat in Scarborough.

Daniel Mark Kedge, 41, was unanimously found not guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court yesterday of unlawfully killing Natasha Johnson in May 2013.

Kedge, recently of Carlton Terrace, Halifax, had admitted supplying Miss Johnson with the heroin she injected herself on May 22 at the flat in Market Way.

He will be sentenced next week for supplying the drug. Miss Johnson’s mother Claire, who has admitted her daughter’s manslaughter by negligence through not getting her medical help will also appear for sentence.

Kedge told the jury after Miss Johnson collapsed from an adverse reaction to the drug he had helped to put her in the recovery position on a sofa.

She was semi-conscious, her eyes were open but she could not speak. “I thought she had too much and had gone over.”

He said that had happened to him five or six times in 20 years of taking heroin and on one occasion an ambulance had been called and he had been treated by a paramedic. On the other occasions he woke up four or five hours later.

He had also seen it around 20 times in others and ambulances had been called on five or six of those occasions. He said in the worse cases they would go blue and struggle to breath and it was clear “medical intervention was paramount.”

But he said in Natasha’s case her breathing although laboured was still quite strong. Her pulse although at first erratic was also strong and although she had lost some colour she was not blue.

Her breathing although laboured was still quite strong. Kedge said he stayed close to Miss Johnson and because her lips had lost some colour he gave her mouth to mouth for three short sessions over 20 minutes.

He did not feel an ambulance was needed because each time she seemed to get a little better.

He watched her for about an hour and a half and she appeared in a “stable” condition. Her pulse was quite strong and consistent, her breathing although slightly shallow was steady.

Eventually because her mother was with her he decided to leave. “In my mind Natasha was all right.”

He said he did not go until Claire Johnson had promised to continue monitoring her daughter and call for help if her condition changed.

The court heard a paramedic found Miss Johnson cold the next morning a pathologist said she had died from central nervous system depression caused by heroin toxicity enhanced by alcohol and Diazepam.