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Big Day Out Drug Dealer Involved In Teenage Death Pleads Guilty, Prison “Looms Large”

Written by Sarah Bella on April 29, 2013

A 25-year-old man who sold ecstasy to 3 teenagers, including a 17-year-old girl who died of an overdose, at the Perth leg of Big Day Out in February of 2009 has pleaded guilty in Perth District Court.

Patrick Willem Coetzer is facing four counts of supplying drugs to teenagers, reports The Music Network, including his ex-girlfriend Gemma Thoms, who tragically overdosed.

Thoms panicked after seeing police and sniffer dogs upon entry to the Perth stopover of the long-running summer festival and swallowed the 3 tablets she had in her possession, hoping to avoid being caught with drugs. She collapsed in the 43-degree heat at the festival and died the next day.

Coetzer will be sentenced next month and is facing a $10,000 fine or a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment. His lawyer, Justine Fisher, has claimed that he was only involved in “low-level distribution” and that the tragedy has caused him to “massively reassess his life.”

Judge Ronald Birmingham stated, however, that supplying MDMA to others in the community was a very serious offense and warned Coetzer that “the prospect of imprisonment looms large”.

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