London Evening Standard/London
A teenager who supplied ecstasy that killed a 17-year-old friend is the son of a top planning consultant behind the London Olympics canoeing centre, the Standard has learned.
A-level student Emily Lyon collapsed after taking the banned drug at a music event in the O2 last June.
She was taken to hospital but doctors could not save her and she died a short time later. Luke Villars, 18, was arrested in Kingston the next day. He admitted supplying MDMA, the pure form of ecstasy, to Emily and three others at the event but has now walked free from court.
His father Phil, 53, is managing director of Indigo Planning.
He is described as “a visible member of the London business community” and was lead consultant on securing planning permission for the 2012 Games canoe slalom venue, the Lee Valley White Water Centre. His clients include West Ham United and Royal Bank of Scotland. He previously worked as a chartered town planner for Kensington & Chelsea and Bromley boroughs.
Emily, from Teddington, bought the drug from his son in Esher on June 17. The promising Esher College student had gone to the Red Bull Culture Clash DJ competition and fell ill.
A post-mortem examination found the medical cause of death was attributable to taking MDMA.
Villars, who attended Grey Court School in Ham, was handed a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years by Woolwich crown court. In addition, he was given a four-month curfew and will have to stay at his parents’ house in New Malden, as well as wear an electronic tag and do 80 hours’ unpaid work.
His father, who sits on the exam board for two masters’ courses in planning and sustainability at Kingston University, yesterday declined to speak of the case.
Chief superintendent Simon Dobinson, Greenwich Borough Commander, said: “This tragic case highlights the very real risks involved in both taking and supplying these types of drugs.
“In this instance, we have seen the most devastating of consequences — a young girl losing her life needlessly, with family and friends having to adjust to changes in their lives which were never expected and which no one should have to experience. Villars clearly believed his culpability ended when he supplied the drugs but he has been held to account for his actions.”
Following her death, Emily’s father Stephen, 50, said: “She was a wonderful, vibrant young lady — a loving daughter and a caring sister, who was much adored by her vast circle of friends.
“It can be seen how these so called ‘recreational substances’ can result in such tragic consequences for so many people. Those who take them can pay the ultimate price.” Yesterday he declined to comment on the sentence, calling it “not something we wish to discuss”.
Emily was described as a sports- loving and popular Year 12 student who had been working part-time in a shoe shop to save money for university.
Her mother Carol Needham, 51, said: “Emily was a lovely, happy person. She had hundreds of friends and there have been hundreds of tributes to her. She was much loved by everybody.”
A boy of 16 at the O2 event was also taken to hospital suffering from what were believed to be the effects of taking illegal drugs. Four other teenagers were also treated as a precaution.
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