The cousin of 15-year-old Shakira Pellow, who died after taking MDMA, has been found guilty of providing her with the pills that ultimately took her life.
Shakira Pellow took high-strength MDMA with friends at her home in Camborne on 6th July, 2018, before collapsing in a nearby park. She was taken to hospital where she died the following morning after suffering multiple heart attacks and organ failure due to the toxic levels of the drug in her system. Her family subsequently released the heart-breaking photo of Shakira taken in hospital, moments before she died, in the hope of preventing others taking the risk.
Oakley Willoughby, 18, of Parc an Tansys in Camborne, has been on trial at Truro Crown Court, having previously denied supplying 15 tablets
of a Class A drug (MDMA). Another man, 18-year-old Joshua Fletcher-Ward of St Day, supplied the MDMA to Willoughby, who the prosecution said was asked to pick up the pills by Shakira.
Throughout the trial Willoughby denied approaching Ward and stated that the first he knew about what happened was when he found Shakira collapsed on the floor.
After a period of deliberation, the jury returned to convict Willoughby of the charge. Ward had admitted his role in the incident previously, on 1st
November, 2019, where he appeared at Truro Crown Court and pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug (MDMA) to Shakira
Pellow and supplying a Class A drug to another male. He has been on bail since and will be sentenced on 13th March. Prosecutor Jason Beal told of how Shakira had arranged to buy the drugs from Ward before asking Willoughby if he would come with her to collect them. He said :“Oakley denied he was also involved, denied he was the man to whom Joshua Ward gave the tablets, and that he was the man who passed them on to his cousin.”
The court heard how in the days leading up to her death, Shakira messaged Ward to see if he could ‘sort pills’ for her and some friends. Ward agreed to sell 15 tablets of MDMA to Shakira for £90. In a message, Shakira asked Ward which pills she was buying. He replied: “Duplos, took one last night and they are banging”.
The prosecution stated that Shakira asked Willoughby to collect the drugs from Ward as ‘she was nervous about going up to the car herself’.
CCTV footage was shown of Willoughby walking out of the Tesco store in the direction of the scrapyard, where the drop-off had been arranged, as well as Ward arriving in a car. Mr Beal told the jury about a message Willoughby allegedly sent to Ward from Shakira’s phone which read: “It’s Oakley. WYSG, I’m here now”.
Willoughby went with Shakira in the ambulance after she collapsed, and used her phone to alert Shakira’s mother of what was happening.
At 1am, Willoughby was arrested at the hospital and taken into police custody. He denied buying the tablets from Ward, but agreed he had used Shakira’s phone to contact him about ‘a silent rave in St Day’. When Willoughby was interviewed again, he denied sending any messages from Shakira’s phone, including the one sent to her mother.
Judge Simon Carr said: “I accept it was never your intention for her to be hurt, let alone killed. You should have been there to stop it, to report it to her mother or even the authorities. You didn’t and you chose to become involved.”
Willoughby was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders’ institute.