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Gravesend man guilty of friend’s death after spiking beer with anti-depressants

PUBLISHED: 17:52 10 June 2013 | UPDATED: 12:54 11 June 2013

Jason Wood, 30, died after his beer was spiked with anti-depressants.

Jason Wood, 30, died after his beer was spiked with anti-depressants.

Archant

A Gravesend man has been found guilty of manslaughter after pouring prescribed anti-depressant tablets into his friend’s can of beer.

A Gravesend man has been found guilty of manslaughter after pouring prescribed anti-depressant tablets into his friend’s can of beer.

Lee Michael Webster, 26, of Harmer Street, appeared at Maidstone Crown Court today where a jury gave its verdict.

The trial, which began on Monday last week, heard how Webster and Jason Wood had been drinking together with a third man, Steven McNamara, at a property in Ramsgate in October last year.

All three had drunk several cans of beer before Mr Wood, of Ramsgate, left the room to go the bathroom.

While he was gone, Webster poured his own prescribed anti-depressants, called Mirtazapine, into Mr Wood’s beer without him knowing.

The 30-year-old then returned and continue to drink the beer.

Shortly after, Webster and McNamara went to bed - leaving Mr Wood downstairs for the night. When a friend arrived in the morning, he discovered Mr Wood was not breathing and called the emergency services.

A post mortem discovered Mr Wood had died with high volumes of anti-depressant and alcohol in his system.

Following the result, Webster was arrested in November along with McNamara. He was charged with manslaughter the following day.

Webster and McNamara both pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing.

A statement from Mr Wood’s family said: “The family of Jason Wood are pleased that a verdict has been reached. The past seven months have been very difficult for the family. Knowing that justice has been served will help to give us peace. We ask you to now let us grieve in private.

“Jason was a happy, caring and fun-loving son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend to many. He is sadly missed by all.”

Webster will be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court tomorrow.


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