On Wednesday 29th November, a 29-year-old man was sentenced to a total of eight years and six months in prison after admitting supplying drugs to teenager Megan Bannister.
Jason Burder, of Braunstone Avenue, Leicester, had also pleaded guilty to possession of MDMA, two counts of supplying a Class A drug and driving without due care and attention and was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court.
His friend, 28-year-old Adam King, of Waltham Avenue, Leicester, was sentenced to four years and six months after admitting being concerned in the supply of the drug to the 16-year-old schoolgirl.
The body of Megan Bannister was found on the back seat of a black Vauxhall Astra after the car was involved in a collision in Enderby, Leicestershire, on the morning of Sunday 14 May.
Both men were acquitted of a joint charge of gross negligence manslaughter after the Judge directed a jury to find both defendants not guilty of the charge in respect of Megan’s death.
Burder was driving the car at the time, with King in the passenger seat.
It was established early in the investigation that Megan had not died as a result of the collision and toxicology tests found she had MDMA in her system.
However, the exact cause of her death remains unascertained.
The court heard how the teenager had been in the company of both men on the evening of 13th May when, during the course of the evening or the early hours of the next morning, she had taken the drug.
At some point she had become unwell and was seen being helped into the car by both men just before 8am on Sunday 14th May.
It is unclear as to when exactly Megan died.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Smalley led the investigation. He said:
“This is an incredibly sad case and Megan’s family are still trying to come to terms with her death.
“They have acted with great strength and dignity throughout the trial, at a time when they are continuing to mourn the death of their beloved daughter and sister.
“When Megan’s body was found unresponsive on the back of the car, a number of witnesses to the collision immediately attempted first aid in attempts to save her.
“They too must be recognised for their brave actions in that tragic situation.
“I hope the conclusion of this case will bring a degree of closure to all those who have been affected by it.”
Megan’s parents, Carol and Tony Bannister, released a statement on behalf of their family; siblings Hayley, Kierran, Kirsten, Callum, Ashleigh, Alex and Megan’s twin brother, Mason.
The statement, published on the Leicestershire Police website read:
“Megan was our beautiful, loving and kind daughter, sister and friend.
“Her compassion for others and energy for life meant she was loved dearly by everyone and our hearts have been truly broken by her death.
“Our bright, determined and popular daughter dreamt of being a midwife but her dream will never be realised as she died before her life really had a chance to begin.
“The last six months have been incredibly hard for our family. The grief and numbness we felt after Megan’s death was overwhelming and the absence of Megan in our lives has been so very painful.
“We still walk into our house and hear Megan’s laughter echoing around the rooms and for brief moments, we forget that she’s not here. The hole that has been left in our family is felt every day.
“There have been some very dark times but we have supported each other as a family and sought comfort in the overwhelming number of messages and tributes we have received from people who knew our daughter, as it is clear that Megan was loved by many.
“The silence without our beloved daughter in our lives is deafening.”