Young woman whose ‘heart stopped’ after suspected spiking ‘would be dead’ without Shrewsbury street pastors

A town’s mayor told of the terrifying moment a young female reveller’s heart stopped outside a nightclub after a suspected spiking.

Shrewsbury mayor Elisabeth Roberts was out with the street pastors when the woman collapsed. She was brought back to life by pastors who used a defibrillator, and would have been dead if they had not been there to save her, Councillor Roberts said.

It came as leaders discussed rising awareness of cases of violence against women and girls in the town.

A report showed females have been targeted in Shrewsbury town centre including in the Quarry, with trafficking, grooming and drug taking among the incidents. There are a number of live police investigations.

Councillor Roberts told a Shrewsbury Town Council meeting of her shock when she witnessed the young woman’s plight.

“I went out with the street pastors two weeks ago,” she said. “There was a young female who was spiked. She came to the outside of one of the nightclubs and collapsed on the pavement.

“If the street pastors hadn’t been there, she wouldn’t have made it. Her heart stopped. They had to defib her, there on the street. It was pretty shocking.”

Calls were made for a bigger and more consistent police presence in the town at a council meeting this week.

David Vasmer raised concerns over the police’s presence in the town. He said he attended a meeting at which police representatives were at recently.

“It was clear there are a lot of changes going on at the moment. The officers all keep moving around. It would be nice to have a period where there are not so many changes.” He said it “makes it very difficult” for leaders to build relationships with local police officers.

It was said that more incidents of violence against women and girls have come to the authority’s attention because of a beefed-up security presence. The council installed security guards for the Quarry and taxi marshals to support the night time economy after receiving Safer Streets funding from West Mercia’s police and crime commissioner John Campion.

However, Councillor Kev Pardy raised concerns about what happens when that money runs out.

“If this carries on, what’s the next step?” he asked. “The council can’t afford to keep paying for more security people.

“I know they are under pressure, but pressure needs to be put on the police.”

Mr Campion and the area’s Chief Constable Pippa Mills are due to visit the town next month to discuss the issues.

Superintendent Stu Bill, said: “We continue to work tirelessly to help keep women and girls across Shrewsbury safe, and we will continue to work collaboratively and share information with our partners to reduce risk, recognise hidden vulnerabilities and bring any offenders to justice.

“Together with traditional policing methods and the use of new legislation to support positive outcomes, we are innovating to provide a policing service fit for the modern environment, including cyber investigation and digital policing.

“The Safer Streets campaign has provided vital funding, which has helped make important improvements to CCTV and street lighting around the town. Shrewsbury also remains a Purple Flag town, meaning it is recognised as being a safe place to live, work and socialise.

“We recognise people may be concerned about their safety during a night out, particularly in the run up to Christmas and I would urge anyone who is concerned to speak to us. If you believe you have been a victim of crime to report it to police, so we can investigate.”

Mr Campion said: “One of my biggest focuses is on tackling violence against women and girls. This needs a multi-faceted approach which tackles the issue at the root, changing behaviours whilst also putting structured support in for victims. I have invested and secured substantial amounts of money to focus on education, changing attitudes at the earliest stage.

“This societal change won’t happen overnight, but this and a host of other measures that I am putting in place, show that I am listening and this remains a priority.

“I am also committed to ensuring West Mercia Police can deliver the very best for our communities, tackling all types of crime and anti-social behaviour. I have invested to bring officer numbers to their highest level in 10 years, and our communities can expect to see a more visible presence.”

By Nick Humphreys

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.