Birmingham student had to go to intensive care after being ‘spiked by a needle’ on night out

Mollie is the second student who was allegedly spiked at Fab ‘N’ Halloween

CW: mention of spiking and needles 

A second University of Birmingham student says she was “spiked by injection” at Fab ‘N’ Halloween and spent time in intensive care recovering from this incident.

Final year student Mollie McCooey says she felt a “wave” come over her after being in the Guild for approximately half an hour, before her vision deteriorated and she started to feel sick.

The alleged incident happened at the Fab ‘N’ Halloween, inside the Guild of Students on UoB’s campus.

This follows another Birmingham student who was allegedly spiked at the same Halloween event.

Mollie and her friends

After arriving at Fab ‘N’ Halloween, for barely half an hour, Mollie told The Birmingham Tab: “I was at the Underground bar attempting to get my first drink of the evening, and after 10 minutes of queuing, everything around me went into slow motion.

“The feeling was so intense, so I abandoned the queue and moved myself out of the way. After drinking such a negligible amount of alcohol and previously feeling almost sober, I could not work out what was happening or why.”

After leaving the Guild, Mollie found it difficult to see her phone screen properly in order to call an Uber home. Her condition quickly deteriorated and Mollie told The Birmingham Tab: “My legs became jittery”, and “my teeth felt very on edge”.

A mark on Mollie’s arm after the alleged spiking

These symptoms then followed a series of blackouts in the five-minute Uber as well as once she got home.

Mollie believes that her reaction to the alleged spiking was significant, however initially didn’t suspect her symptoms were consistent with a needle stick injury, as she was in the Guild for a short period of time.

“The next day, I found what looked a lot like a puncture wound on my arm and rung 111, who immediately told me to go to A&E”, she explained.

After the doctors took bloods, ECG’s and administered a Hepatitis B jab, Mollie had a severe reaction to the jab. She says doctors explained that it was due to the “foreign bodies” in her blood, from the alleged spiking.

From this, Mollie was moved to intensive care as her blood pressure was dangerously low, and spent five hours in resuscitation being stabilised.

Mollie told The Birmingham Tab: “My experiences both at home directly following the incident, and in hospital, were not only serious, but also incredibly distressing.

“Had I not been spiked, I would have never suffered a reaction as serious as this.”

A week on, Mollie has been attempting to recover both physically and mentally from the alleged spiking.

“I can see the trauma of this horrific incident affecting me for the foreseeable future, a mental burden that I did not need adding to the already stressful final year of my degree.

“I really hope that after such an incident, the Guild do better and give us women the level of security that we so deserve to enable us to actually go out feeling safe”, Mollie told The Birmingham Tab.

West Midlands Police have published some advice on drink spiking. They said: “Bars are briefed and almost all of them are taking extra measures to keep their customers safe. ID checks and extra searches can be expected along with more patrols inside the venue with close monitoring of CCTV.”

“Staff are ready to help if people need it, with larger clubs providing on site medics. Some places are also offering free drug detection kits for people who are worried their drink may have been tampered with.”

You can get more information here.

Last week, the University of Birmingham’s Guild of Students told The Birmingham Tab: “We are aware of a number of incidents within our venue and have reached out to support those involved. We are also cooperating with police investigations.

“The Guild cannot comment on individual cases, to respect the privacy of students. We have implemented a number of enhanced measures to increase student safety which are set out in our recent statement and published on our website,” they said. These new measures include increased bag searches, personal searches, use of metal detector wands, passive drug detector dogs and increased police presence.

The Guild told The Birmingham Tab: “We are holding an Open Meeting this Friday (5 November) so that students can voice their safety concerns and make further suggestions for how we can improve student safety. We have also sought feedback from students via a special Instagram post.

“We are actively considering the implementation of further measures, and will be reviewing students’ feedback carefully. We will be releasing further information shortly.”

In a statement released by the Guild, the full time officer team wrote that they are “very concerned” of the reported needle spikings at Fab ‘N’ Halloween.

“Please be assured that your safety is extremely important to us and we want you to feel and be safe on nights out,” the Guild team wrote.

“We are in contact with the students involved on Saturday and we are working closely with West Midlands Police, Guild Advice, University Security and Wellbeing services to ensure that they receive help and support. We will cooperate fully with any police investigations.”

The team added: “We want to make it clear that we have a zero-tolerance approach to anyone who is caught spiking someone with a needle or someone’s drink, and will not hesitate to report the matter to both the police, and the university.”

The Guild of Students has been contacted for additional comment. 

For support or advice surrounding drink spiking or safety, contact UBHeard on 0800 368 5819 or Guild AdviceTalk to Frank also has information on spiking including how to stay safe and what to do if you think you’ve been spiked. The charity Victim Support are ready to help you if you’ve been spiked in the past and are struggling to cope. Call them 24/7 on 0808 1689.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• Birmingham student ‘spiked by injection’ at the Guild’s Fab ‘N’ Fresh night

• Snobs confirms four cases of spiking over Halloween weekend

• We spoke to Birmingham clubs about the anti-spiking measures they are taking