Friend in fatal GHB overdose thought she did the right thing by waiting to call medics
A 30-year-old woman who is accused of negligence in the wrongful death of her friend said in court on Tuesday that she misjudged the situation at the time. Her friend, Lisette Elzinga died at the age of 26 in October 2021 after drinking pure GHB from a bottle of water in a Heerenveen home. The Public Prosecution Service called for a conviction and a suspended prison sentence of four months against Sylvia de V., 30, from Heerenveen.
Elzinga and De V., went home with a 49-year-old man on October 15 after a night out. He and Elzinga knew each other, and at his home they consumed even more alcohol and drugs, the suspect stated. De V. said that she found Elzinga unconscious when she woke up in the home at about 6 a.m.
Her friend did not respond to pain stimuli or from a glass of water splashed on her face. According to the Public Prosecution Service, De V. called emergency services too late.
De V. said in the Leeuwarden court room that she herself had first walked through the house in a confused state for some time. She called 112 after more than two hours. Now 30 years old, De V. testified that it was unclear to her whether or not she should call in the emergency services, leading to the long delay.
The owner of the house had told her that Elzinga had to sleep it off. He confirmed Elzinga had accidentally drunk from the bottle containing GHB.
De V. said he was confident about that point. "He had experience with GHB. I didn't. I thought she was in a very deep sleep." That morning she had found confirmation on internet sites, said De V. "I convinced myself, it will be all right."
The judge pointed out to the Heerenveen resident that the websites she visited also stated that she needed to call emergency services. Friends whom De V. had contacted had also advised it. "I never estimated it was life-threatening," she said.
According to the Public Prosecution Service, both De V. and the 49-year-old owner of the home can be blamed for the wrongful death because they did not seek medical help in time. The ON also noted that the websites De V. visited stated she had to call 112 in view of Elzinga's condition.
"All the time they were able to call 112 and thereby initiate the necessary help," said the prosecutor at the District Court in Leeuwarden. "The suspects really could have and should have acted differently. Together they acted carelessly and negligently. They decided in consultation not to call 112."
Elzinga died ten days later on October 25, 2021, due to the consequences of a combination of alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine and GHB. The police found no evidence that she was deliberately administered the drugs.
The 49-year-old man with whom the women had accompanied will appear in court on Wednesday. Two other men who were in the home have not been charged. "With what I know now, I would have done it very differently," De V. states. Her own drinking and drug use that night influenced her judgment, she continued.
Going home with the man was also a mistake. "I didn't want to go, but tagged along. It was the biggest mistake of my life."
Reporting by ANP