Tributes have been paid to a much-loved ‘angel’ who died after being the victim of a tragic alleged drink spiking in Germany.
Former Shelley College pupil, Jane Khalaf , 19, collapsed suddenly at Cologne’s St Marien Hospital after she told friends she thought someone had put something in her drink while out celebrating the city’s carnival.
The second year politics student at Northumbria University had been on an exchange in the city after being handpicked by the university.
Now Jane’s parents, who own Huddersfield’s Med One restaurant, have demanded answers about the situation in which she died.
They are being helped by Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, who has raised the issue with the German Embassy.
Jane collapsed at hospital after a night out on November 12.
Her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to the Kliniken der Stadt Koln where she was put on a life-support machine before doctors decided to turn off the machine eight days later, on November 20.
Tests taken there revealed levels of amphetamine and ecstasy in her blood.
Her grief-stricken mum, Rojin, and dad Khalil, had flown to Cologne to remain at her bedside after hearing the news.
Mrs Khalaf said: “It’s absolutely terrible and we just can’t believe what has happened.
“When we found out how serious the situation was we just hoped for a miracle but sadly it didn’t happen.
“She was such an intelligent, ambitious, funny and happy person who was so full of life and hoped to become involved in politics and was good at everything. But really there are no words that can properly describe her.
“Everyone knew her and she had a wonderful impact on people when she met them: she was like an angel.
“She was our future and meant everything to us.”
Jane’ family home is in Parkwood Close, Shelley, where she lived with her parents, 16-year-old sister Naze and 9-year-old brother Kevin.
She was well-known around the Huddersfield area and further afield within the Kurdish community. Her family were closely involved with the community since they fled Syria in 1978. Jane herself spoke at a rally about the Kurds in August in St George’s Square.
Her body has been flown back to the UK where a post mortem will be carried out.
But her parents and uncle, Fhami Khalaf, are now pressing for action against both the hospital and German police, who they have accused of negligence.
He mum said: “The way we were treated and the way her case has been dealt with in Germany was appalling.
“No one rang to tell us that she had been taken ill in hospital despite the fact she had her driving licence on her as ID: we found out through Facebook.
“Then we were not treated well by the staff at St Marien Hospital when we arrived, who told us stories that shocked us.
“Some said she was in a waiting room when she collapsed - and it turned out that no blood tests had been taken despite her telling them she believed her drink had been spiked or that any action was taken when they found she had high blood pressure.
“Then after she died we went to the police to see if they were investigating and we were treated appallingly. They were rude and unhelpful and didn’t seem interested in properly investigating what had happened. They have not even interviewed anyone she was with on the night.
“She was a very sensible girl and very anti drugs so we are confident that her drink was spiked.
“A horrendous experience has been made so much worse by the frustration they’ve caused us and we just want answers.”
The Principal of Shelley College, John McNally, has paid tribute to former student Jane Khalaf.
The teenager spent five happy years there from Year Nine to Year 13 when she took her A levels.
He said: “We are deeply saddened at Jane’s death and we remember her as a lively, intelligent, passionate student who was very proud of her heritage and took a great interest in politics not just in this country but further afield too.
“We thought she might become a famous name given her drive and enthusiasm. She was such a confident person who was always willing to speak up, in the nicest possible way.
“She represented things like the Student Council so I would meet her from time to time. She always volunteered if there were any jobs to be done around the school.
“We heard the news that she was on life support but I just couldn’t believe she was gone. She had that passion and charisma which made you think she would do well in the future
“I went with three members of staff to the vigil at the Polish Catholic Centre, Fitzwilliam Street, held over Thursday and Friday.
In her A level examinations Jane obtained two Bs, a C and a D in Government and Politics, English, History and Geography.
In September, she started studying for a politics degree at Northumbria University, Newcastle.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm that one of our students has tragically passed away while studying at a partner university in Germany.
“Representatives from Northumbria University have met with the family and we continue to offer support at this difficult time.
“We are in contact with the authorities in Germany and the UK, and stand ready to assist further where we can.”
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