A GRIEVING father has appealed for more to be done to combat hard drug use following the death of his junior judo star daughter.

Talented Gina Jackson, who won major trophies as a child, including a British open competition and the Greater Manchester Youth Games, had to give up the sport she loved when she developed curvature of the spine aged 12.

Her father, Daniel Jackson, said that after the subsequent surgery she suffered from low self-esteem and, from her late teens, would sporadically turn to taking amphetamines and cocaine in order to cope.

“She would mask things with the drugs and it was a downward spiral for her,” said Mr Jackson. “She was all right for months on end and then she would bump into a wrong person and it would start again.”

An inquest in Bolton heard she had sought help for periods of low mood from doctors and last year had treatment for her illegal drug use.

Emergency services who arrived at Austin Barnes’ home in Clay Street, Bromley Cross, found 26-year-old Miss Jackson dead in his bedroom on September 11 last year last year.

Toxicology tests revealed she had a cocktail of illegal drugs, including amphetamine, heroin and cocaine in her system, the combination of which had killed her and needle marks were found in her arms.

Barnes, aged 30, was subsequently charged with supplying her crack cocaine and is due to be sentenced at Bolton Crown Court today (Monday).

At Miss Jackson’s inquest her father told assistant coroner Rachael Griffin that he last saw his daughter on September 9, the family had watched a film together at their Long Lane, Breightmet, home and she had appeared to be in good spirits.

The next day he and his wife went to work, but when they got home Miss Jackson was not there and she did not respond to text and phone messages.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Austin Barnes said he had once met Miss Jackson at a party and after chatting on social media, including a discussion about drugs, they agreed to meet at the Balmoral pub in Bolton town centre for a drink at 2pm on September 10.

He claimed she had diazepam on her and said she told him she had been at a flat in Paderborn Court with a man named Rob who had injected her with amphetamines.

Barnes said he went back to the flat with her, but they both later left because she wanted to buy more diazepam.

The court heard that police did not find anyone named Rob at the flats and there was no one of that name in Miss Jackson’s phone contacts.

In the evening Barnes said they went to his house in Bromley Cross to watch DVDs, but in the early hours of the morning they decided to go and buy crack cocaine, taking a taxi to meet someone in Tonge Moor Road.

He added that they took the drugs back home and shared them, smoking the crack cocaine before they went to bed.

Det Insp Charlotte Cadden told the court that no drug-taking paraphernalia was found at the house after Miss Jackson’s death.

Barnes said he called the emergency services after waking up at lunchtime with Miss Jackson in a collapsed condition beside him.

“When I first looked at her I thought she didn’t look well,” said Barnes.

“When I talked to her and didn’t get any response – that’s when I started to panic.”

He added that he could not explain two aborted 999 calls dialled from his mobile phone just before 4am that morning and denied he had made them.

Questioned by Mrs Griffin he stated that he had not injected drugs into Miss Jackson.

“Any drug that she took with me, she took of her own free will,” he said.

DI Cadden said it was not possible to establish whether someone else had injected Miss Jackson or she had done it herself and it was not known when she had used heroin.

However, police concluded there was no third party involvement in her death and no suspicious circumstances.

Mr Jackson accused Barnes of being unco-operative with the investigation into his daughter’s death.

“You have done nothing to help us in this investigation into what happened. You have done nothing to give us some peace,” he said.

“I just wanted to know the truth and I haven’t got it.”

He added that he did not believe that anyone named Rob exists.

Mrs Griffin commented: “I accept there are inconsistencies in what I have been told.”

Recording a conclusion that Miss Jackson died as a consequence of drug use, Mrs Griffin said Miss Jackson had been much loved by everyone around her.

“It is clear to me that she was a bright young lady who was very active, particularly in her younger years and very successful in sport,” she said.

Mr Jackson asked the coroner for more to be done to restrict the availability of drugs, stressing the effect his daughter’s death had on his family, which includes Miss Jackson’s mother Yvonne and her stepbrother and sister, Paul and Cassie Howarth.

“It has destroyed us all,” he said. “Class A drugs are so available – it needs to be addressed.”

But Mrs Griffin responded that the authorities were already aware of the problem and were being proactive in the fight against drugs.

“The only possible positive thing that can come from Gina’s death is the warning about the consequences of taking drugs,” she added.

Speaking after the inquest Mr Jackson said he hoped others would heed the warning.

“I don’t want any parent to go through what we’ve been going through,” he said.

“Gina was a beautiful girl who wouldn’t have harmed anybody.

“She was never involved with the law and only ever hurt herself.

“There are a lot of questions still not answered and we have not had closure.”