Man jailed over teen’s party drug death

A MELBOURNE man who supplied a 13-year-old with a deadly party drug the night she fatally overdosed could be out of jail in a little over a year.

Luke Delphin, 20, broke down in tears in a Victorian court last month when he pleaded guilty to supplying Alesha Fernando with GHB before she later died from drug toxicity.

The young teen was discovered by a friend face down on a mattress in a Dandenong apartment in 2017 after a night of partying with Delphin and his friend.

In the County Court of Victoria today Delphin was jailed for a minimum of two years, of which he has already served 346 days.

Luke Delphin will be jailed for a minimum of two years for supplying Alesha with a fatal dose of GHB.
Luke Delphin will be jailed for a minimum of two years for supplying Alesha with a fatal dose of GHB.

Delphin, who was 19 at the time, and his friend reportedly picked up Alesha and a 15-year-old girl in a stolen car in June last year.

It was the first time Alesha and Delphin had met, with the court hearing that Delphin believed the 13-year-old was actually 17.

According to police, the group drove to a house in Narre Warren in Melbourne's southeast where Delphin purchased 20 millilitres of the deadly drug GHB.

They then went back to Delphin's apartment where they all smoked cannabis and ingested the liquid GHB through a small plunger.

The court heard that Alesha consumed far more of the drug than anyone else, with the 13-year-old continually accepting Delphin's offers for more.

Alesha was just 13 when she overdosed on the deadly drug.
Alesha was just 13 when she overdosed on the deadly drug.

"Luke Delphin kept asking Alesha if she wanted more GHB and she willingly accepted the offers," prosecutor Daryl Brown told a plea hearing last month.

Mr Brown told the hearing that Delphin told Alesha she was "hot" and that he wanted to sleep with her before the pair fell asleep on a mattress on the floor.

But Alesha never woke up.

One of her friends went around to the unit in the morning to check on her after receiving Snapchats of the night before.

Alesha was found lying face down and unresponsive on the mattress.

"She noticed that Alesha was pale and her lips were blue," Mr Brown said.

After receiving a hysterical phone call from her friend, Alesha's mother, Katrina Gavan, rushed to the unit but said her body was "cold by the time I got to her".

Alesha Fernando and her mother, Katrina Gavan.
Alesha Fernando and her mother, Katrina Gavan.

The 13-year-old was taken to Monash Hospital but she could not be saved.

On her 34th birthday, Ms Gavan had to watch as her only child's life support was turned off.

Delphin fled the apartment after Alesha overdosed and when police came to arrest him he punched one of the officers.

A search of his apartment also uncovered a knife and a tomahawk.

In a heartbreaking statement to the court Ms Gavan detailed the agony of losing her daughter.

"So much of my life was always for her. It was just us two," Ms Gavan said in a statement to court, read by Alesha's aunt.

"I'm broken. I will never recover. My soulmate is gone."

Alesha's organs were donated, saving three lives.

Delphin has already served 346 days of his sentence.
Delphin has already served 346 days of his sentence.

The teen's grandmother, Jacinta Cotterell, said that events and family celebrations just aren't the same without Alesha there.

"A room full of all the people who adored our beautiful Alesha and once again my heart breaks," she said.

Delphin broke down crying multiple times throughout the hearing.

According to the 20-year-old's lawyer, Crystle Beissmann, he had been suffering from nightmares ever since the incident, adding that "he didn't mean for her to die".

Ms Beissmann said that, though his crimes were serious, they still must be viewed in light of his belief that Alesha was 17.

"It is essentially a party between a group of young people that ends horribly, tragically," she said.

Delphin had a disadvantaged upbringing having spent much of his childhood in foster care, and was of low intelligence, the court was told.

He pleaded guilty to supplying a child with an illicit drug, car theft, possessing a knife and tomahawk, possessing methylamphetamine, driving offences, theft and resisting arrest after assaulting a police officer.