Few dispute that Lady Beth Douglas met her squalid and premature death because of the criminal drug trade.
The teenage daughter of the Marquess of Queensberry died of cardiac failure, caused by cocaine and heroin poisoning, in the early hours of Wednesday, March 7, while at a house party in one of London’s most exclusive squares.
Her host was a known addict whose flat, in a part of Notting Hill where homes fetch £25 million, was a notorious crack den familiar to locals and the police.
Witnesses say that two drug dealers, a man and woman of ‘Latin’ appearance, were summoned to the venue by phone, arriving at about 8pm with a large stash of narcotics, likely to have included the fatal batch of heroin. Someone almost certainly then helped Lady Beth, who was just 18 and had never previously injected the drug, fill a syringe, before inserting it into a vein on her right arm.
Several people then saw her collapse on a filthy sofa, apparently falling asleep.
Lady Beth Douglas, 18, (pictured) died while at a house party in Notting Hill. Police decided the incident was ‘not believed to be suspicious’
Many of them were still there at about 1.30am, when her boyfriend, Jenan Herzog Karagoli, who had ventured out to buy wine when she took the drug, realised she wasn’t going to wake up.
There was, in short, ample evidence of very serious criminality that night.
A property in the heart of London had, after all, been used to supply large quantities of class A drugs to several people, in the presence of many onlookers, including its tenant.
As a result, a vivacious young girl, who, two years earlier, had been an academically gifted violin prodigy, attending one of Britain’s top music schools, was dead. Clues about the events leading up to Lady Beth’s death would almost certainly have been found on her mobile phone, which Jenan had used to summon an ambulance.
In addition to her conversations with various drug dealers, who, for several months, had fuelled her addiction, it had been used to control social media accounts, which showed the half-Taiwanese aristocrat, known as ‘Ling Ling’, had been prostituting herself to obtain drug money.
Yet, despite these pertinent facts, the police failed to arrest — let alone charge — a single person, and do not seem to have launched a criminal investigation.
Instead, they decided the whole incident was ‘not believed to be suspicious’.
They maintain that line to this day, to the dismay of Ling Ling’s family, who are deeply upset that, as they see it, no significant efforts have been made to trace guests at the party who might identify the criminals who contributed to her death.
At her inquest, her father, the Marquess, complained that the host of the party, who allowed his property to be used for the distribution and taking of drugs, was not even compelled to give evidence.
‘This flat, where my daughter died, seems to have been connected with the injection of heroin,’ he said.
Lady Beth (pictured) won a place at the Purcell School for Young Musicians at age 15. Just two years before her death she was an academically-gifted violin prodigy
‘The owner of the flat is not here to make any statement. And the other people at the party, police haven’t contacted them.’
Meanwhile, Lady Beth’s niece, Hero Douglas, has said: ‘I am horrified that a girl who had never injected heroin before can die.
‘No one trying heroin for the first time does it themselves — someone must have helped her. But the police don’t seem to care about finding out who that was.’
In the nine months that have passed since her death, the police don’t seem to have done a great deal to stop drugs being consumed in the Notting Hill flat where she died.
Last week, when the Mail visited the property, owned by the Peabody Trust housing association and situated in Pembridge Square, we saw one occupant taking cocaine in broad daylight. Nearby is Wetherby Preparatory School, the alma mater of Princes William and Harry.
This public spectacle speaks volumes about the creaking state of the criminal justice system.
Yet take an extended look at the all-too-short life of Lady Beth Douglas and it soon becomes apparent that the police aren’t the only ones with difficult questions to answer.
So, too, do the mental health services who had been treating the teenager for anorexia, bipolar disorder and a personality disorder for several years. They allowed her to pass a mental health assessment less than a month before her death.
A series of family misfortunes have contributed to the ‘Queensberry Curse’. The Marquess pictured with his daughter Lady Beth and her niece Hero
And so does the social media giant Twitter, which, as we shall see, facilitated her descent into prostitution.
Some blame for this tragedy lies with the famously dysfunctional Queensberry family, whose ancestors have seen centuries of misfortune, and also with Lady Beth herself.
The sad tale begins in the early Nineties, when her mother, a young Taiwanese artist called Hsueh-Chun Liao, came to the UK to study at Bath Spa University and then the Royal College of Art.
There, she came into the orbit of the charismatic Marquess of Queensberry, Sir David Harrington Angus Douglas, a motorbike-riding, Eton-educated potter who has over the years designed homeware ranges for everyone from John Lewis to Royal Doulton and Wedgwood.
Though the Marquess was, by then, twice-divorced and approaching his 70th birthday, with six legitimate children, plus a seventh born as a result of an extra-marital affair in the early Sixties, the duo fell in love. Lady Beth was born in August 1999. Less than a year later, Liao married Sir David, then 72, becoming the third Lady Queensberry in the process. At 31, the Taiwanese third wife was younger than four of her husband’s children.
Ling Ling never revealed what happened, but she seemed seriously traumatised
Family misfortunes have all contributed to the so-called ‘Queensberry Curse’. The 9th Marquess, an eminent Victorian who gave his name to the rules of boxing, was the father of Lord Alfred Douglas, the gay lover who played a leading role in Oscar Wilde’s downfall.
In recent years, Sir David’s actress daughter Lady Alice married an armed robber she met while doing outreach work in a prison (predictably, the marriage collapsed).
Meanwhile, the half-sister of Sir David’s illegitimate son Ambrose Carey managed to marry not one, but two of Osama Bin Laden’s sons.
‘I could never remember his surname, except by thinking of Bin Liner,’ Sir David later mused. ‘Now, of course, Bin Laden must be the most famous name in the world.’
While the family estates, which once covered tens of thousands of acres, had long since been lost, Sir David’s successful career, which began alongside Terence Conran, selling pots out of a Mayfair garage, afforded him a degree of prosperity.
Lady Beth (pictured) developed an appetite for recreational drugs by the time she dropped out of Purcell School for Young Musicians
Lady Beth earned about £500 from Skype sex shows before moving into prostitution
Lady Beth grew up in a comfortable home near Westbourne Park, to the north of Notting Hill, the youngest member of what Lady Alice once described as ‘a very modern and gloriously dysfunctional family’.
Hsueh-Chun Liao’s own career was by then taking off (today, her pots sell at auction for up to £5,000), while the young Lady Beth soon demonstrated a precocious talent for the violin. She had taken it up aged six, winning a place in the Royal Academy of Music’s junior academy. Yet, in keeping with the Queensberry tradition, life wouldn’t run smoothly for long. In 2007, when Lady Beth was eight years old, her parents separated and her mother moved to Finchley, North London, several miles from the home where she’d grown up. Then, in 2009, the family was struck by serious tragedy, when her half-brother, Milo, a 34-year-old charity worker suffering from depression, killed himself.
‘His death broke her heart. She was at a formative age at the time and, to a degree, never really recovered,’ says a family friend.
‘In fact, many of the problems she was diagnosed with, bipolar disorder and so on, were identical to the ones he’d struggled with.’
The day before she died, she asked me: “Where can we get some heroin?
By the age of 13, the once vivacious Lady Beth (who’d won a place at the Latymer School, a highly selective North London grammar) was known to mental health services, after she started self-harming. She was diagnosed with anorexia, too. Then, at 14, she was deeply affected by an incident at Comic Con, a comic book and pop culture exhibition, where she met a much older man who went on to sexually abuse her. ‘Ling Ling never revealed what happened, but she seemed seriously traumatised,’ says a family source.
She never fully recovered. At 15, she won a place at the Purcell School for Young Musicians, one of the most prestigious institutions in the country (she had attained distinctions in grade-eight piano, violin and viola) but, after a year, she suddenly dropped out, announcing that ‘music doesn’t interest me any more’.
A family friend believes Lady Beth (pictured) never really recovered from the death of her brother who killed himself in 2009
By then, she had developed an appetite for recreational drugs, experimenting with cannabis, MDMA and cocaine, drinking heavily and dying her hair. Things soon spiralled, and in 2016, she was sectioned for six months, under the Mental Health Act.
On August 7 last year, Lady Beth was celebrating her 18th birthday with friends in a Notting Hill pub when she met Jenan Herzog Karagoli, an unemployed 21-year-old who lived with his mother in a flat on a nearby council estate.
‘She had her dad’s credit card and was high on a drug called loprazolam,’ he recalled. ‘We kissed that night.’
Within days, she had moved in with Karagoli. ‘She couldn’t bear to live with her mother, which I found absolutely bizarre because she was a lovely lady,’ he said.
To fill the days, he says they would take cocaine or MDMA in his bedroom before ‘wandering the streets of West London’.
Lady Beth was also on several prescription medications on the advice of her doctors, including risperidone (an anti-psychotic) and lithium (a mood stabiliser). Then things took a still darker turn. In December last year, she opened a Twitter account, calling herself ‘Goddess Candy’. On it, she offered to perform naked webcam shows on Skype for men who transferred £20 to her Paypal account and to sell her underwear to perverts willing to pay £30.
The account, which remains online, holds deeply unpleasant photographs and videos of this vulnerable, extremely thin teenage girl, who is clearly unwell.
Lady Beth (pictured) was almost constantly high on cocaine in the hours before her death
One shows her lying on a bed in a nightdress with a bloodied bandage covering her right wrist. In another, she talks to camera, slurring and so inebriated that her eyes can barely open.
To Karagoli’s dismay, these Skype sex shows, from which she earned about £500, became a ‘gateway’ into prostitution. She began leaving him in pubs for hours at a time — seemingly to meet men she’d met via Twitter. In January, she began to use her Twitter feed to advertise for ‘meets tonight in the Westbourne Park area’.
Quite why social media site Twitter allows its platform to be used by a teenage prostitute to procure clients is anyone’s guess, as is the question of whether Skype is happy for its service to be used for drug addicts to perform sex shows.
‘The day before she died, she asked me: “Where can we get some heroin? Because I want to try it again.” ’ recalled Karagoli.
‘She used to snort heroin back before I knew her. I said I didn’t know anyone [who sold it]. She made a phone call and said we were going to a party.’
In the 48 hours before her death, she was almost constantly high on cocaine, financing the binge by meeting a dubious series of men in Bayswater hotels.
She then bought a deadly batch of the heroin in a known drug den on one of London’s finest squares.
Yet, as we know, officialdom insists that no crimes whatsoever were committed during this very sorry saga.
And so no one will be held to account for the latest tragedy to strike her aristocratic dynasty.
Additional reporting: Courtney Bartlett