'Scum' stripped my son's body of anything worth stealing

NEIL Makemson lost his watch, his jewellery, his cash and his life at 38 Tarnsyke Road – the Lancaster drugs den closed down by police this week.

His mother Diane used one word to categorise

the addicts who lived there and their perverted

values –"scum."

Someone stripped Neil's body of his valuables as he lay unconscious or dead.

"I don't know how people can stoop so low," said Diane, 47, who spent 12 years on Ryelands before moving to the Ridge. "They even took his belly button ring. That must have been worth all of 1. His phone was the only thing ever found."

Neil, 21, was tall, slim, well-mannered. He loved clubbing, was a great dancer and liked a drink.

But he was battling against depression and on October 14 last year learned that a trial period as a baker had not worked out. He was jobless.


For some reason that day he ended up on Ryelands, asking round for soft drugs among old school friends – possibly to help him through the day after losing the job. Diane believes her only son had had no previous involvement with drugs.

Initially he was warned off Ryelands but ended up at number 38. Subsequent events are unclear.

An inquest recorded a misadventure verdict after hearing of alcohol and morphine in his blood.

The morphine may have come from the chemical breakdown of heroin or methadone. It is not known where he took the fatal drugs or who supplied them. But he was found dead on the floor of number 38 on October 15. Diane says that people at the flat knew he was unconscious but did not initially call an ambulance. Instead they went into Lancaster city centre to eat.

"It was evident from police inquiries that both occupants and friends of the occupants had been at those premises," said DI Simon Hills.

"At one point an unknown male came to the door and sold some heroin to the people there."

While at the flat Neil is known to have taken anti-depressants and methadone. He had also been moved from one room to another by people who knew he was semi-conscious and heavily under the influence of drink and drugs. "But they did nothing about it," DI Hills added. "No ambulance was called."

Diane is learning to live with her grief, with the questions to which there may never be answers. Upstairs in the loft at home – untouched – lies the suitcase he had packed for a family holiday in Spain with mum and dad Derek and his three sisters Nicola, who is 20; Danielle, 17; and 14-year-old Gemma.

"I haven't the heart to open it," Diane said. "We were going to celebrate his birthday out there."