Leicester

Megan Bannister trial: Pair cleared of manslaughter

Megan Bannister Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Megan Bannister's family said she was bright, clever and responsible

Two men have been cleared of the manslaughter of a 16-year-old girl who died after they supplied her with the drug MDMA.

Jurors heard how Jason Burder and Adam King drove around Leicestershire while Megan Bannister was "out of it" in the back of a car which later crashed.

However, the judge told jurors they could not be sure that failing to seek medical help had caused Megan's death.

Mrs Justice Jefford instructed the jury to acquit both defendants on Tuesday.

The two men, both of Leicester, were formally cleared of the gross negligence manslaughter of Megan in the third week of a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

After his acquittal, Burder, 29, pleaded guilty to supplying Megan with MDMA, being in possession of MDMA on the day of her death, supplying a woman with cocaine and MDMA four months before, and careless driving.

King, 28, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of MDMA to Megan on the day of her death.

Image caption Jason Burder (left) and Adam King were cleared of gross negligence manslaughter

Mrs Justice Jefford told the jury that after hearing legal arguments she had "concluded that as a matter of law there is no case to answer on the manslaughter charge".

"Therefore my duty to instruct you to enter a not guilty verdict against both defendants," she added.

In a written ruling explaining her decision, the judge said there was no evidence on which a jury could be sure that failing to seek assistance for Megan - however "morally repugnant" it might be - had caused her death.

The trial heard how Megan's lifeless body was found lying in the back of a Vauxhall Astra after it was involved in a crash near Enderby in Leicestershire on 14 May.

Image caption Megan's lifeless body was found in the back of a car after it was involved in a crash near Enderby

Jurors were told how the men drove around buying beer and calling escorts while the teenager was left to die.

Staff nurse Natalie Kent, who stopped at the crash scene, said Megan had no obvious crash injuries but was "the colour of death".

The prosecution claimed a Snapchat video, possibly shot in Burder's bedroom earlier that day and sent to others on social media, showed Megan "out of it" and apparently "fitting", according to those who watched it.

Burder, of Braunstone Avenue, and King, of Waltham Avenue, are due to be sentenced on Wednesday.

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