Dead At 15 – Care Girl Who Sold Body To Buy Heroin

Victoria Agoglia’s troubles began when her mother died when she was eight. She never knew her natural father and social services decided her stepfather was not fit to look after her so two years later she was placed in care and spent time in homes across Manchester.

But Vicky, who used her stepfather’s surname, Byrne, regularly absconded and began having relationships with older men. She also reported being raped.

She had ambitions of becoming a model, but by the time she was 15 she had turned to prostitution and was a regular user of drugs and alcohol.

She moved to Rochdale and lived in Bernard Street, Syke, in a care home run by the Green Corns company.

In the space of two months she ran away 21 times and on five occasions the police were asked to look for her.

She last left the Bernard Street address in September 2003, saying she was going to meet a friend. She never returned although staff at the house were able to keep in contact with her by mobile phone.

Within days, Vicky’s sad life was over. Paramedics were called to a house in Sussex Street, Merefield, where she had overdosed on heroin.

She was taken to Rochdale Infirmary and later transferred to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where she died on 29 September after two days in a coma.

Later, Mohammed Yaquab, of Sussex Street, was charged with two offences of administering diamorphine and was sent to prison for three-and-a-half years.

Social worker Michael Godfrey described Vicky as ‘a small, fragile-looking thing’ who hoped to become a model or a hairdresser.

He said: “When she was good, she was very good, but sometimes she would get the devil in her.”

Simon Crabtree, representing Manchester City Council, said: “In the context of guidance there was nothing further the local authority could have done to prevent Vicky‘s untimely demise.”

Simon Crabtree representing the Council said: “Vicky clearly was a child who by conventional standards behaved in a way in which many children and young people would not behave, and in a way which parents would not, or at least should not approve.

“However that does not make her an unworthy individual, quite the contrary, she had many redeeming qualities. She was not ‘bad’ but misguided in her youth”

Coroner Simon Nelson, giving a narrative verdict, said: “Vicky was a vulnerable young person who died of opiate intoxication following a lethal ingestion of heroin.

“The local authority should have properly anticipated Vicky Byrne’s propensity to abscond, abuse drugs and alcohol and mix with inappropriate people.

“However, no inference can be made that these events were foreseeable. Her death was not the result of a breach of the council‘s protective duty.”