Scots teen’s drink-spiking nightmare as 34-hour delays for tests mean she ‘will never get justice’


A young woman who claims her drink was spiked in a pub has said delays in testing her for drugs mean she will never get justice.

Jess Insall, 19, was found slumped in a toilet cubicle by a pal and had been unconscious for an hour.

Her friends contacted emergency services but she said that a lack of understanding over how to deal with the situation saw her endure a 34-hour wait for a drug sample to be taken.

She fears the substance was out of her system by then and that she will never be able to prove what happened.

The accountant, from Stirling, claimed her case highlights there is no clear protocol in place with emergency services when someone complains of having their drink spiked.

She said: “When I got conscious and could talk, the first thing I said was, ‘Someone did this to me. I didn’t do this myself – I’m not that drunk.’

“I remember not being able to think of the words as I was so out of it. All I could say was that someone was hurting me. I didn’t know what was happening to me.”

Jess’s friends called an ambulance and told the operator they believed her drink had been spiked after finding her in the toilets of The Golf Lounge in Glasgow’s West George Street at about 10pm on Friday, March 25.

When they were told there were no ambulances available, her friends managed to get Jess to her parents’ home in Strathblane, Stirlingshire, where mum Laura Machesky and dad Robert Insall called the police.

The next morning officers told the family that Jess should have gone to hospital the previous night and advised her to call NHS 24.

The emergency call center advised her to go to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow, where drug testing could be done.

But A&E staff at the QEUH said it was the police’s responsibility to carry out testing and treated her for dehydration and a high heart rate.



Jess had been out for a few drinks with some friends at The Golf Lounge

Police had turned up at the family home while they were at hospital. Officers then returned at 8am on the Sunday and a drug sample was taken.

Jess said: “On the night of the incident, I had gone to the bathroom in the pub and was feeling fine. I then woke up there an hour later. I was on the floor, unable to move and was covered in sick.

“I couldn’t really speak and felt like a ragdoll, completely floppy. I cried out and someone heard and came and got me.

All the individual [emergency services] people were trying to help and the police were sympathetic but it felt like there was
no protocol in place. There was no system and no one quite knew what they were doing.”

She believes delays in testing will have seen the possible drug – such as date rape substance GHB – leave her system before it was carried out.

Jess added: “GHB only stays in the system for about eight hours so, if it was that, then they will never know.

“I’ve had to accept I’ll probably never know what happened. I feel like I’ve just been left in the dark.”

Jess had been out for a few drinks with some friends, wasn’t drunk and felt safe with the crowd around her, seeing nothing suspicious.

She made a full recovery and was told by police they had looked at CCTV in the pub but couldn’t see anyone spiking her drink. She is also still awaiting the results of the drug test.

Jess said: “I’d say to anyone who is a victim of spiking, or anything like that, to report it and talk as much as they can about it.

“The only way we’re going to get this fixed is by making noise about it.”

Conservative MSP and shadow community safety minister Russell Findlay has written to Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) CEO Jane Grant to highlight the case.

He said: “There were almost 400 spiking cases reported in Scotland over a recent five-month period but many go unreported and few resulted in prosecution.

“It is also alarming that there have been just three recorded seizures of the commonly used spiking drug GHB across Scotland over the past six years.

“This suggests that dangerous predators are free to prey on innocent people with little chance of ever being caught. While Jess was extremely lucky to have come to no harm, what about the next young woman who is targeted?”



Russell Findlay said: “There were almost 400 spiking cases reported in Scotland over a recent five-month period.
Russell Findlay said: “There were almost 400 spiking cases reported in Scotland over a recent five-month period”

Detective Inspector Stuart Gillies said: “The welfare of victims in these incidents is of paramount importance.

“We have clear protocols in place to ensure full and thorough investigations are carried out in all reported incidents. This includes the obtaining of relevant samples where appropriate.

“We work with a range of partners to ensure licensed premises are safe spaces for all through the continued delivery of Bystander Awareness training.

“We would encourage anyone who believes they have had their drink spiked or been assaulted in this way to contact Police Scotland on 101 or, in an emergency, 999.”

NHS 24 said: “Our 111 service has robust triage processes in place to support people contacting our services, directing them to the most appropriate location for the care they need, based on the information the caller provides.”

A spokesman for NHSGGC said: “In the circumstances described, this would normally be a police matter, including testing. We will look into the incident and work with Police Scotland to see if there are lessons to be learned.”

The Scottish Ambulance Service said: “A call was received on behalf of a female who was conscious and breathing. We advised a senior clinician would call back as the case required a more in-depth clinical assessment.

“A senior clinician attempted to call back but could not make contact. They tried again but were then advised an ambulance was no longer required.”

The Golf Lounge said it had assisted police with inquiries.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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