Jimmy Guichard on life support
A grieving mother is calling for shops that sell legal highs to be banned after her son died in her arms.
Jimmy Guichard, 20, was found lying unconscious on his bed after suffering a heart attack just hours after it is thought he bought a legal high.
His mother claims an empty plastic bag from a legal highs store in Chatham was lying next to him at his Gravesend home.
Jimmy was left with severe brain damage and 24 hours later his family had to make the heart-breaking decision to turn off his life-support machine.
His mum, Karen Audino, from Hextable, who has launched a Facebook campaign to highlight the dangers of legal highs, said: “He was fit and healthy, even the doctors said his organs were perfect.
“I believe what he smoked caused this and I want those shops banned, so nobody else has to go through this pain.”
A spokesman for UK Skunkworks, which has a shop in Chatham High Street, said there is no evidence the product was bought from its Chatham store.
He said: “Our sympathy is with Mr Guichard’s family.
"We get all our products from an official supplier and they do not have any UK Skunkworks branding on them, neither do our bags.”
He added: “All our products are clearly labelled ‘not for human consumption’.
"Our customers are closely monitored and we check IDs. If we feel that someone is going to ignore the warning we will not sell the product to them.”
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One of the last family pictures of Jimmy Guichard, with sister Sam and mum Karen Audino at Thope Park
Jimmy’s death comes in the wake of calls for legislation to be tightened and shops like UK Skunkworks to be banned.
Canterbury MP Julian Brazier wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May to call for a change in the law after 17-year-old Matt Ford from Whitstable nearly died after suffering a heart attack from taking a legal high.
The student collapsed after smoking a herb called Exodus Damnation he bought from a UK Skunkworks shop in Canterbury.
Matt Ford says he nearly died after taking a legal high
Mr Brazier wrote: “‘Skunkworks’ get-out clause for the sale is that the herb is not for human consumption, but their advice is to help you relax by burning the herbs in the home.
“I find these twisted semantics as repugnant as I am sure you do. Skunkworks, its fellow shops and its websites must be banned.”
Chatham MP Tracey Crouch echoed Mr Brazier’s sentiments.
She said: “People need to understand the dangers of legal highs. Just because they are legal doesn’t mean they’re not harmful.
“The government needs to urgently review legislation around the sale and purchase of these substances.”
The chain, which has 18 shops across the south of England, has defended their sales.
In a letter of reply to Mr Brazier, a spokesman wrote: “Calling for UK Skunkworks to be shut down is a pitiful attempt at dealing with the issues we face,” adding, “we sell a wide range of popular products that are received very well by an adult market.”
Jimmy, who was applying for a job in the Army, was a keen sportsman.
The post mortem examination has been carried out, but the family are still waiting on the results of the toxicology report.
Mum Karen Audino has launched campaign against the sale of legal highs
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