Ramsgate; Convicted Of Manslaughter

11 June 2013, 13:14 | Updated: 11 June 2013, 13:18

A man has been sentenced to five years in prison after a drinking prank turned to tragedy.

Lee Michael Webster, 26, of Harmer Street, Gravesend, was found guilty of manslaughter by a jury at Maidstone Crown Court on 10 June. He had already pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing.

The trial, which began on Monday 3 June, heard on the evening of Sunday 21 October 2012, Webster and Jason Wood were drinking together with a third man, Steven McNamara, 27, at a property in Camden Square, Ramsgate.

They had all drunk several cans of beer before Jason, of Ramsgate, briefly left the room to go to the bathroom in the early hours of 22 October.

Lee Webster, sentenced to 5 years for manslaughterBut while he was gone, Webster poured a number of his own prescribed anti-depressant tablets, called mirtazapine, into Jason's beer without his knowledge.

Jason, 30, then returned and continued to drink his beer unaware it contained Webster's anti-depressants. Shortly afterwards, Webster and McNamara went to bed leaving Jason downstairs for the night. But when a friend arrived in the morning, he discovered Jason was not breathing and alerted the emergency services.

A post mortem discovered Jason had died with high volumes of anti-depressant and alcohol.

Speaking after the sentencing, investigation officer Detective Inspector Chris Carter from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: "Although Lee Webster never intended to kill or harm Jason Wood, he was responsible for his death.

"Spiking, or secretly putting drugs or substances into someone else's drink should not be considered 'fun' or a joke. It can have very serious consequences which Jason's family and friends and Mr Webster, will have to live with for the rest of their lives."