THE mother of a student who is thought to have been drunk and hypothermic when he died in a field has launched a bid for a change in licensing laws to protect young drinkers.
Donna O’Halloran has suffered a “hell on Earth” since her son David disappeared on his way home from a bar.
The 18-year-old first-year Stirling University student wandered past the entrance to the student campus where he lived and CCTV showed him staggering along a street.
His disappearance in January sparked a search that ended almost three months later when his body was spotted by a farmer in a field, miles from his halls.
Police say the teenager was drunk and suffered hypothermia as he tried to find his way home, but his mother insists her son’s drinks were spiked, causing his disorientated state.
O’Halloran now aims to take on bar and club owners at Holyrood with plans for tough new licensing legislation she hopes will ensure the safety of young drinkers.
The proposals include enforced limits on the number of drinks per customer in bars and nightclubs, dedicated “cool-off” areas for anyone too drunk, and coasters and mats that can show if drinks have been spiked.
O’Halloran, 41, launched an online petition demanding change last week and has already gathered more than 1,100 signatures. She is now preparing for an appearance at the Scottish Parliament.
She said: “This is about being sensible and taking more responsibility for our young people, such as students, in this country. Alcohol is the deadliest legal drug out there, but we just don’t seem to be doing enough to tackle its problems. It destroys families, it destroys society. We have to take a stance.”
David, who was studying maths and education, went missing in the early hours of 18 January, having decided to leave a taxi early on his way back from a night out with friends in Stirling.
He was spotted jogging towards the university, but then ventured through a field, arriving at a nearby dairy farm wet and with cuts on his hands from clambering over barbed wire.
His body was later found in a field by a farmer.