Police warn of the tragic consequences of drugs use.
High-profile barrister Henry Hendron, 35, was sentenced today to 140 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of drugs with intent to supply.
Police were called to Hendron’s Pump Court apartment in January 2015, after his boyfriend Miguel Jimenezwas, 18, was found dead. A post mortem at Poplar Mortuary revealed that he had died from mixed drug toxicity.
During a search of the flat, police discovered 60 self seal bags of Mephedrone, more commonly known as ‘meow meow’, and bottles of the drug GBL.
Appearing alongside Hendron was Alexander James Parking, 41, a senior producer at the BBC, who was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of Gammabutyrolactone (GBL) and supplying Mephedrone.
City of London Police, who investigated the case against Henry Hendron, walked GT through the details of the tragic events:
On the morning of January 20, 2015, Henry Hendron woke to find his 18 year-old boyfriend Miguel Jimenez dead beside him. Police and paramedics were called to the scene but despite their best efforts Miguel was pronounced dead at 9.37am.
Hendron was arrested at his flat on suspicion of manslaughter and possession of drugs, after he disclosed to an officer on the scene that he and his boyfriend had been taking ‘M & G.’
When Hendron was interviewed he provided a prepared statement, denying any involvement in supplying the drugs, stating to police that they were Miguel’s. However, when police searched his Pump Court flat they seized a “considerable quantity of drugs,” in 60 small self-seal bags and in cream coloured envelopes marked “10 X 1G.”
Two opaque bottles containing 483ml of GBL and a set of electronic scales were also recovered from the flat. All of these items firmly pointed to the fact that drugs were being weighed and packaged with the intention of distribution.
After Hendron’s release on bail, police confirmed that his fingerprints could be attributed to the various envelopes, bottles and self-seal bags, however, they could not attribute fingerprints on the items to his boyfriend Miguel.
After his arrest, Hendron failed to provide the correct PIN for his iPhone, but City of London Police were able to access messages of interest using his Macbook, which had also been seized during the investigation.
The messages that were retrieved from the Macbook contradicted Hendron’s prepared statement, and added to the mounting evidence that he was actively involved in the selling of Mephedrone and GBL.
One text, seen by GT, which was sent on November 18 2014 read: “So I need to get some electric scales. Is there any near you.”
Another text sent on November 19 of the same year read: “Please jot down price as will need to factor that into profit !! Bag up as many bags as we got of 1g each. Make sure that u under serve and not over serve!!!”
Using the text messages, police went on to identify a contact referred to as James G Dealer as Alexander James Parkin. Messages exchanged with Parkin showed that an arrangement was made on January 12 for Hendron to travel to the home address of Parkin in Marylebone for the purpose of buying drugs.
Following today’s sentencing, Detective Constable Matt Schneider from the City of London Police warned of both the health and legal dangers of chems: “The use and supply of these drugs within some groups has become habitual with little regards to the real dangers and criminal nature of this behaviour. Illegal drugs destroy lives and sadly a young man has died in tragic circumstances.”
Detective Schneider went on to explain that the readily available nature of the drugs, and the groups they circulate in doesn’t change the fact they are illegal and potentially deadly: “Drug suppliers come in many guises, but this investigation led to guilty pleas from Hendron and Parkin, who were brought to justice regardless of their position or professional standing.
“This tragic case highlights the real dangers that these so called recreational drugs can bring – the risk of overdose and death.”
The sexual health clinic, 56 Dean Street in London, estimates that 3000 gay men who use drugs in a sexual setting access its services every month.
We need to seriously consider how we can reduce the harms thart arise from chemsex.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4 prior to his sentencing, Henry Hendron said that he only had himself to blame for Miguel’s death: “Every day that goes past I feel responsible. I feel responsible because I was older, I should have known better – I’m a barrister, I’m 35, he was only 18.
“It should have been me saying we’re not going to do this. It should have been me taking responsibility… I didn’t make that call, when I should have done. For that reason, and that reason alone, I put his tragic death on my shoulders.”
Matthew Hodson, Chief Executive of the gay men’s health charity GMFA, spoke to GT about the risk of chems within the LGBT community: “Chemsex is a growing problem with our communities, and there are no easy solutions.
“We now suspect that more gay men in the UK die as a result of their involvement with chemsex than as a direct result of HIV infection.
“And so we need to seriously consider how we can reduce the harms thart arise from chemsex. GMFA privde information to gay men on correct dosing, and what do do in an emergency to reduce the harms. We also work with our partners at Dean Street, and at Antidote to provide support for people who are struggling with their use of chems.”
If you’re concerned about any issues in this case, or concerned for a friend, you can find information, advice and support from Antidote – The UK’s only LGBT run and targeted drug and alcohol support service. Their website is londonfriend.org.uk and their helpline is open 10am-6pm Monday – Friday 020 7833 1674 just ask for a member of the Antidote team.
You can also find plenty of information on safer chems at GMFA’s website – gmfa.org.uk