New chapter offers further insight into Martha’s story

Anne-Marie Cockburn

Following Martha’s death, her mother Anne-Marie Cockburn, wrote a book entitled 5,742 Days: A Mother’s Journey Through Loss

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

TOURISTS, commuters and shoppers will be handed the updated story of teenager Martha Fernback, who died from a drug overdose, to mark the anniversary of her death.

Martha, 15, a Cherwell School pupil from Summertown, Oxford, died after collapsing in Hinksey Park on July 20 last year.

She had a heart attack two hours after taking half a gram of crystallised MDMA – the drug Ecstasy.

Following Martha’s death, her mother Anne-Marie Cockburn, wrote a book entitled 5,742 Days: A Mother’s Journey Through Loss, with the title marking Martha’s short life.

Miss Cockburn, 43, said: “The updated version of the book is with the publishers and will be ready for the anniversary. Copies will be handed out around Oxford and on the London Underground.”

On Saturday, the day before the anniversary, books will be left in restaurants, cafes, museums and other public places in Oxford. There will also be a public picnic on Saturday, from 12.30pm at Hinksey Lake in the park.

Miss Cockburn has added a new chapter, to include details about the court case involving the youth who supplied the drug, and her public forgiveness of him.

It also includes Miss Cockburn’s view that recreational drugs should be legalised and regulated, a stance she made public at the inquest into Martha’s death at Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court last month.

She has called for meetings with Home Secretary Theresa May, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker.

Miss Cockburn added: “I haven’t yet heard from Theresa May’s office but I will keep on campaigning because I don’t think prohibition is working – a guy died at Glastonbury and he was supposed to have taken ketamine.

“I don’t fear meeting Theresa May or making MPs uncomfortable because standing by your child’s grave is a very uncomfortable position for a parent to be in.

“Modern society wants to take recreational drugs but if drugs were regulated they would be safer.

“MPs hide behind the barrier of prohibition, but what I am proposing will save lives.

“Strict and responsible regulation of recreational drugs is vital.

“Had Martha been able to access drugs that had been legally produced and labelled accordingly, she would have been able to make a more informed decision.

“In fact, I’d go so far as to say that she might still be alive.”

Yvette Cooper’s office has issued a statement saying she is willing to meet Miss Cockburn.

At the inquest on June 12, coroner Darren Salter recorded a verdict of accidental death. The cause of death was MDMA toxicity.

Miss Cockburn has set up the site whatmarthadidnext.org to help safeguard the lives of young people.

A parent's tale

The new chapter in the book is called Bringing You Up To Date.

In it, Miss Cockburn writes: “Martha was a normal teenager – there is no story behind the story.

“I knew she had started to dabble with drugs and was early on in that phase. I felt helpless as I didn’t feel equipped to address this subject with her as I knew very little. When I sat down to talk to her about it she was almost blase about it.

“This terrified me as I could see she was desensitised to the dangers. I went into her school and did what I could to help her to see sense, but young people these days aren’t as easily scared as my generation was.”

Miss Cockburn’s book has been published by Oxford-based publisher Infinite Ideas, priced £9.99. Ten per cent of proceeds from each book sold will be donated to the What Martha Did Next fund, a charitable trust managed by the Oxfordshire Community Foundation.

The fund will be used to raise awareness of what happened to Martha and to prevent other people from succumbing to the same dangers.

  • Our top stories:

Army will apologise to paratrooper after bullying claim at RAF Brize Norton upheld

Oxford Mail:

4:11pm Wednesday 1st October 2014

THE Army has said it will apologise to a paratrooper who lost three limbs in Afghanistan after his complaint of bullying was upheld.

Witney job centre cordoned off after suspicious package scare

Oxford Mail:

11:38am Wednesday 1st October 2014

A job centre was cordoned off after reports of a suspicious package.

Two road closures next week on A34 and in Oxford

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

10:52am Wednesday 1st October 2014

PARTS of the A34 and Walton Street will be closed next week as roadworks are carried out.

Thames Water under fire from residents who say they’ve been left in the dark

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Wednesday 1st October 2014

ANGRY residents flooded out of their homes say they are being left in the dark by Thames Water a week after disaster struck.

One lane of Botley Road shut for emergency work

Oxford Mail: Burst water main closes Lower Hall Lane in Chingford

9:00am Wednesday 1st October 2014

THAMES Water started emergency roadworks in Botley Road last night.

WATCH: Right royal occasion as RAF hands on helicopters + video

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Wednesday 1st October 2014

PRINCE Andrew joined RAF personnel and Royal Navy staff as they paraded at RAF Benson yesterday to mark one of the base’s helicopter squadrons being officially disbanded.

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree