Boy, 13, 'manipulated' to sell drugs 'died of Ecstasy overdose'

Son, 13, of ‘loving and kind family’ was ‘groomed and manipulated’ to sell drugs for county lines dealers by bullies at his school before he died of Ecstasy overdose, inquest hears

  • Mehmet Altun was ‘fearful’ of gang who groomed him and wanted to get away 
  • His parents tried to protect him from drug world by banning him going outside 
  • But teenager managed to text drug dealer on social media who offered ecstasy
  • He left house for an hour and returned vomiting and sweating with eyes rolling
  • Mehmet rushed to hospital but died that day on August 19 last year at hospital

A bullied 13-year-old boy who was ‘groomed’ into selling drugs at his school by a county lines gang has died from an ecstasy overdose, an inquest has heard.  

Mehmet Altun from Bournemouth, Dorset, was ‘fearful’ of the gang who ‘groomed’ him and wanted to get away from them.

His parents desperately tried to protect him from the drug world by banning him from going out alone during the summer holidays.

But the teenager began texting a dealer on social media who offered to sell him ecstasy.

After convincing his mum to let him go out on his bike, Mehmet took the pills before returning home in a manic state.

The schoolboy began to vomit, sweat, and his eyes rolled back before he had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest.

Mehmet Altun (pictured) from Bournemouth, Dorset, was ‘fearful’ of the gang who ‘groomed’ him and wanted to get away from them

Metmet’s father Hulusi Altun during a march for Mehmet Altun in August last year

His frantic family called an ambulance and paramedics quickly arrived to give him CPR.

He was rushed to hospital but tragically died later that day on August 19 last year at Poole Hospital.

Post mortem results revealed he had died of MDMA overdose.

Following his death, a 14-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs and is still being investigated by police.

Mehmet had an ordinary childhood until he began to be bullied, his inquest heard yesterday at Dorset Coroners Court in Bournemouth.

He was then ‘groomed and manipulated’ by a gang to distribute drugs. Police and social services became involved when Mehmet carried a knife into school.

His parents desperately tried to protect him from the drug world by banning him from going out alone during the summer holidays. Pictured: Flowers left outside Mehmet’s parents’ shop in memory of Mehmet

He was expelled and spent a month without education before being sent to a school for troubled children.

In the final few months before his death, the teenager became increasingly secretive and isolated from his family, the inquest heard.

His devastated mother, Aynyr Altun, said she was afraid to let her son leave the house.

She said: ‘When he wanted to go out himself, I never trusted him. I realised he had to go. I didn’t let him go out until the last month.

‘He told the social workers I didn’t trust him, so because of that I tried to give some. I was watching him all the time, but I didn’t realise what went on’.

Valerie Musaigwa, a social worker who dealt with Mehmet’s case, said he ‘wanted to get away’ from the drug world.

Metmet’s mother Aynur Altun during a march for Mehmet Altun in August last year

Pictured: Mehmet’s family were forced to close their shop while they grieved the loss of the teenage boy

She said: ‘His case came to us because Mehmet used to sell drugs. He became part of county lines drug trafficking.

‘He was fearful of that and wanted to get away. He requested not to go around the shops because there were boys there who sold drugs.’

Mehmet’s family were unaware that he had taken drugs until he came home on the fateful day in August, the court heard.

Mrs Altun explained that he had gone out on his bike for an hour before returning home and going to his room where he threw up on his bed.

Describing the harrowing moment he became unwell, Mehmet’s sister, Yaz Altun, said she knew something was ‘very wrong’.

She told the inquest how he kept saying he wanted to nap as she pleaded with him, ‘don’t sleep’.

Ms Altun said: ‘His face was really red, he was sweating. He started pacing the corridor. He wouldn’t tell me what he’d taken.

‘He kept walking from room to room and wouldn’t stay still. He said he was feeling great – at times he spoke gibberish.

‘He was a bit paranoid. He kept looking behind me because he thought there was somebody there. Eventually he said he’d bought three tablets and took two.

‘He said he wanted to sleep – I told him, ”don’t sleep” but he started to close his eyes. I said, ”Mehmet, can you hear me?” He didn’t respond.’

Senior coroner, Rachel Griffin, said Mehmet’s did ‘everything they could’ to protect their son.

She concluded Mehmet’s death was ‘drug-related’.

Mrs Griffin said: ‘Mehmet was a 13-year-old young boy described as happy at the time of his death. It’s clear that he came from a loving and caring family.

‘It is clear to me that he chose to take those drugs that day. There was evidence on his phone that he made arrangements to purchase them.

‘If there is anything positive to come from the extreme agony you have all gone through, it is to warn others against using these drugs that are dangerous and have had the consequence of a tragic loss of life.

‘He had his whole life ahead of him – you could not have cared for him anymore. It is just so very tragic that he made the choice he did that day.’

Speaking after the inquest, the teen’s family blamed the gang for introducing him to drugs and said more needed to be done to protect children from criminal exploitation.

They said that boys like Mehmet were ‘neglected’ by social services, schools, and the police.

They said: ‘The biggest concern and the underlying problem is the child exploitation issue.

‘These children and teenagers are the victims and they do not magically find access to these drugs. The exploiters groom and manipulate them into this lifestyle. Sadly, Mehmet was one of them.

‘This crisis needs to be shed light upon and people need their awareness raised because it happens right in front of our eyes and unless we’re aware of it, it becomes unnoticed.

‘They use these children because when they’re caught, it never goes back to them. They’re smart at what they do and our children take the blame, become neglected by the social services, the school, and the police.

‘Mehmet could have been the one to sell to another, which could have resulted in someone else’s death.

‘That’s the issue; even if they come from a loving and providing family, any child can become a victim of child exploitation.

‘Even though the coroners court can only really give answers to who, when, where and how, it is up to BCP Council to understand why. Why is it that this problem is still occurring? More action needs to be taken.’

Mehmet’s sister Yaz, who now works for Escapeline, a charity committed to preventing child exploitation, added: ‘Unfortunately this is increasingly getting worse every year and the more our children, our parents and our authorities are educated on the matter, the more we can collectively stop drugs being so accessible to children but ultimately guide them away from gang activity.

‘No child deserves to live their childhood or teenage years feeling stuck and trapped because they were too scared to say no. I encourage parents to educate themselves because it can happen to anyone.’

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