A teenager who was spiked on a night out in Manchester city centre has bravely shared her story in a bid to warn others of the potential dangers.
Claudia Laing, 19, collapsed inside ’42’s’, also known as 42nd Street nightclub, after downing a Jagerbomb last week.
The cinema worker, from Whitefield, selflessly came forward with her story after the Manchester Evening News highlighted a number of similar incidents of women seemingly being spiked.
There are increasing concerns that predators who use date-rape drugs could be lying in wait to target incoming freshers’ students.
Claudia was on a night out with four girl friends and had already had one vodka-lemonade and Jager Bomb combination when she ordered the same thing again at 1am.
She took the drinks to a table but began feeling ill as soon as she downed the shot.
She said: “We were in a booth. I stood up and started to feel a little bit faint. I thought it must have been the Jagerbomb. Then I started not being able to sit up. I was laying on my friends and they were looking at me saying ‘are you ok?’
“I was saying ‘no, not really’, and I started to properly fall off the couch. I just started to go. I could not move my arms. My dress had gone up and I couldn’t pull it down.
“I couldn’t speak. One of my friends got some water and poured it into my mouth but I couldn’t swallow it. It went all down my dress.
“One of the bouncers came and said ‘you really need to take her out for air – she doesn’t look good’. My friends carried me out. Me legs were trailing behind me. They put me on a window ledge outside. I started to foam at the mouth and my jaw was gurning.
“I was completely paralysed, but I could remember, see and hear everything. I just could not move at all.”
Her friends rushed her Manchester Royal Infirmary’s A&E department where she was given water and monitored until being discharged at 8am.
She believes her drink was spiked, possibly earlier in the evening, although she added no tests were conducted on her in hospital to establish any drugs in her system.
Claudia said: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting that someone could do that t somebody they don’t even know. I don’t even know if they were there to see the state I was in. If they were, it’s absolutely sick. I didn’t have a clue what was happening to me. I didn’t know if I was going to sleep or dying. I didn’t know what was going on.
“I don’t do drugs at all. I only have alcohol.”
Claudia says she’s now too worried about her drinks being spiked to go out and has cancelled plans to attend Parklife in Heaton Park this weekend.
“I could not think of anything worse,” she said.
She has reported the incident to the police.
Claudia’s experience came after young woman reported her drink was spiked at Revolution Bar on Deansgate Locks on September 1.
In the immediate aftermath of her ordeal Claudia posted a picture of herself in a hospital bed and wrote: “Girls… be careful when going out!! I went to Revolution in Deansgate and was spiked!!! Luckily I messaged my boyfriend and said I wanted to go home as I knew something wasn’t right! As soon as I got home I was violently throwing up, shaking, spaced out, slurred speech and couldn’t get my words out, couldn’t feel my legs, heart rate of 150 and went unconscious. I was hospitalised and kept a close eye on, thankfully allowed to go home!
“Please keep a eye on your drinks!! I had my hand over my drink and still managed to get spiked. There are some nasty horrible people out there.”
The post has been shared thousands of times.
Lanna Maskell, manager at 42nd Street, said staff have checked CCTV and interviewed staff members working the night Claudia collapsed.
A man who was seen on the footage dancing with Claudia returned to the club the following night with a friend – they were searched but nothing was found. They were asked to leave, said Lanna. The club copied his ID.
The action was to ‘err on the side of caution as the safety of our customers was paramount’, added Ms Maskell.
“Like any other premises, we take the threat of spiking very seriously. Our management team continuously ensure that our door and bar staff are well trained in how to deal with suspected incidents. We actively encourage our customers to do their bit to keep themselves and their friends safe. We hope that Claudia is recovering well and hope to see her soon.”
Inspector Sean O’Connor, of GMP’s City of Manchester district, said the force will be working to prevent this happening again.
“As we welcome students return to Manchester over the coming week, our Operation Student Safe will commence. There will be additional resources on student nights and a number of initiatives are planned to help educate students new to the city on personal safety,” he said.
“We would encourage everyone on a night out to have fun, but stay alert and take preventative measure such as not leaving your drink unattended and never accepting a drink that you haven’t seen being prepared.
“If you suspect you have been spiked, seek medical advice and report it to the police as soon as you can. Any reports we have of drink spiking will be taken seriously and the more information we have about these kind of incidents the more we can build a bigger picture and target those responsible.”