Was her drink spiked?
By Kenneth Nguyen
March 31, 2004
Isabel Kenton knew her drink had been spiked.
On Thursday, March 18, she told her grandfather what had happened early that morning during a night out with friends. Later that day, suffering hallucinations and short-term memory loss, she called the police.
By 9am the next day Ms Kenton was dead - her bleeding body found on the floor of her bedroom.
The 21-year-old aged-care nurse told her grandfather, Phillip Mabarrack, that the night had begun at a local pub where she met friends to play pool. Later they moved on to a second pub, Mornington's Bay Hotel.
It was there that her friends made a strange revelation, she alleged. Her drink had been spiked.
"They had put not one, but two of these pink stars in her (drink)," Mr Mabarrack told The Age yesterday.
Mr Mabarrack, who lived with his granddaughter, urged her to get medical attention. So too did the police detective who spoke to Ms Kenton when she rang to report the alleged spiking - providing no details about those responsible.
But Ms Kenton had a habit of avoiding doctors.
By Thursday night, her condition had deteriorated. She was trembling, Mr Mabarrack said. "She woke my wife up, saying, 'There's tapping on the window, someone knocking on the door'."
Next morning, when he and his wife went to check on Ms Kenton, they found her lying on the floor, bleeding.
"She must have had a haemorrhage from the lung system," Mr Mabarrack said.
Mornington police are investigating Ms Kenton's death, gathering information from friends and witnesses as well as video footage from the licensed venues where she was seen in an attempt to identify her company that night.
An autopsy has been performed, and police are awaiting a toxicology report from the coroner's office. Findings are not expected for six weeks.
Common substances used in drink spiking include ketamine, rohypnol and gamma hydroxybutyrate, which this month landed 12 people in hospital.
Superintendent Peter Billing said police had not ascertained any motive for the alleged spiking of Ms Kenton's drinks.
"We don't know whether there was any sexual motive behind what happened," he said.
"There have been some reports that people are doing this thing as a prank, just to see what the impact is on the victim. We need to be more vigilant to ensure this doesn't happen."
Mornington police are investigating up to a dozen similar drink spiking incidents.
Mr Billing said the detective who had taken Ms Kenton's phone call had been traumatised by her death.
"(The victim) refused to give her family name (and) there was no caller ID on the phone so we weren't able to trace her call," Mr Billing said.
"The detective urged her to get medical attention because she wouldn't say who she was or where she was from."
Asked why Ms Kenton had given so little detail, Mr Billing said the detective suspected she "didn't want any action taken in her case, but she wanted us to know it was happening at this venue".
Shattered by his granddaughter's death, Mr Mabarrack said the incident was a warning to young people.
"Isabel was a bright, active girl who had everything to live for," he said.
"I'm very upset. The sooner the warning goes out about spiking, the better."