A STUDENT arrested for possessing thousands of pounds worth of drugs following the death of a trainee doctor has been warned he could go to prison.
But Alex Pearson will not be sentenced until June – to give him time to do his university exams.
The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to possessing ecstasy and cannabis with intent to supply and possessing methoxetamine, which had a total value of about £2,000.
He was arrested by police when 19-year-old Doug Ferguson died after becoming ill at a house in Chandler’s Ford last summer.
Doug, a former student at Peter Symonds College in Winchester and Thornden School in Chandler’s Ford, was in his first year at Bristol university where he was studying medicine when he died.
Initial post mortem results to discover how he died proved inconclusive.
His family described him as a “fun-loving, popular young man who liked to live life to the full”.
Dozens of Doug’s friends gathered at Hiltingbury Recreation Ground in the aftermath of his death to light candles and release Chinese lanterns in his memory.
Flowers and messages were left at the skate park, a favourite haunt of the student, and notes were also written on the ramps.
Recorder Nigel Lickley QC said the circumstances in the case involving Pearson were “tragic”.
But Mark Ashley, defending, stressed the charges had no link with the death.
He urged the court to adjourn sentencing until after Pearson, who is in his final year at university, sat his exams in May.
Mr Ashley explained: “There is a good chance he will come out with a 2:1 and there is more chance of him keeping on the straight and narrow with that under his belt rather than having wasted two and a half years.”
The judge granted his application and told Pearson he would be sentenced on June 7, extending his bail with the warning that all options, including prison, were open.
As previously reported by the Daily Echo, an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is under way because officers were in contact with Doug, of Cranford Gardens, Chandler’s Ford, shortly before he died.
The IPCC last night confirmed that the enquiry is ongoing and the findings will be shared with Doug’s family when it is complete.
The Mid-Hampshire coroner, based at Winchester, said no date will be set for the inquest into Doug’s death until the results of the investigation are known.