Teenage girl dies on exchange visit to Germany ‘after drinks spiked’

THE parents of a teenage girl who died on a university German exchange believe she may have been the victim of a drink-spiking tragedy.

Jane Khalaf. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Jane Khalaf, 19, collapsed suddenly after telling friends she thought someone had put something in her drink and died after eight days on a life support machine.

But her parents Khalil and Rojin Khalal have criticised the hospital in Cologne for not carrying out blood tests to confirm whether her drinks had been spiked - and for leaving them to find out on Facebook that she had fallen ill.

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The couple, from Huddersfield, are now demanding answers after further tests revealed levels of amphetamine and ecstacy in her blood.

Mrs Khalaf said: “The way we were treated and the way her case has been dealt with in Germany was appalling.

“No one rang to tell us that she had been taken ill in hospital despite the fact she had her driving licence on her as ID, we found out through Facebook.

“Then we were not treated well by the staff at St Marien Hospital when we arrived, who told us stories that shocked us.

“Some said she was in a waiting room when she collapsed - and it turned out that no blood tests had been taken despite her telling them she believed her drink had been spiked or that any action was taken when they found she had high blood pressure.

“Then after she died we went to the police to see if they were investigating and we were treated appallingly. They were rude and unhelpful and didn’t seem interested in properly investigating what had happened. They have not even interviewed anyone she was with on the night.

“She was a very sensible girl and very anti drugs so we are confident that her drink was spiked.

“A horrendous experience has been made so much worse by the frustration they’ve caused us and we just want answers.”

The first year politics student at Northumbria University who campaigned for humanitarian aid and military intervention was hand-picked for the trip to Cologne last month. She became unwell while celebrating the city’s carnival on November 12 and was

rushed to the St Marien Hospital in Cologne, where her condition deteriorated.

Mr and Mrs Khalaf flew to Cologne to remain at her bedside and on November 20, doctors made the decision to turn off her life support machine.

Paying tribute to her daughter, Mrs Khalaf said: “It’s absolutely terrible and we just can’t believe what has happened.

“When we found out how serious the situation was we just hoped for a miracle but sadly it didn’t happen.

“She was such an intelligent, ambitious, funny and happy person who was so full of life and hoped to become involved in politics and was good at everything. But really there are no words that can properly describe her.

“Everyone knew her and she had a wonderful impact on people when she met them, she was like an angel.

“She was our future and meant everything to us.”

Jane, who has a 16-year-old sister Naze and nine-year-old brother Kevin, was heavily involved in the Kurdish community after her family fled Syria in 1978.

In August, she spoke at a rally in Huddersfield, calling for humanitarian aid and military intervention in the Kurdistan region.

Her parents and uncle, Fhami Khalaf, are now pressing for action against both the hospital and German police, who they have accused of negligence.

The issue has now been raised with the German Embassy, and Jane’s body has been flown back to the UK where a post mortem examination will be carried out.

John McNally, headmaster at Shelley College in Huddersfield, where Jane was a pupil for four years, paid tribute to her.

He said: “We are deeply saddened at Jane’s death and we remember her as a lively, intelligent, passionate student who was very proud of her heritage and took a great interest in politics not just in this country but further afield too.

“We thought she might become a famous name given her drive and enthusiasm. She was such a confident person who was always willing to speak up, in the nicest possible way.”