'My drink was spiked - now I have a brain injury'

Simone smiling at camera
Ms White is awaiting scan results to find out what the long-term implications may be [Simone White]

A woman from Bristol is suffering from a brain injury after a suspected drink spiking incident on a night out.

Within a few hours of Simone White, 43, going out with friends, she started to feel "very strange", before collapsing and being rushed to hospital suffering with seizures.

It has been a week since the incident, and the mother-of-three says she still cannot speak properly and is struggling to walk.

A consultant told her it is likely she suffered a functional neurological disorder.

Simone smiling at camera while holding the bridle of a horse
Ms White's partner was called by friends and found her in an "aggravated" state [Family photo]

Ms White, from Bradley Stoke, has undergone scans which will determine how long-lasting her symptoms will be.

She is speaking out about her ordeal to raise awareness, and stop the same thing happening to someone else.

"I never thought this would happen to me," she said. "I'm 43, I was out with friends with family involved, we were in a safe environment - or so I thought.

"I have very little recollection of what happened.

"I don't understand why this happened to me. I wasn't mugged, no one followed me."

After she started to feel strange, she left her friends in search for 18-year-old son who was at a nearby bar.

She says she cannot remember what happened next.

Her partner George, 53, was called by strangers who found Simone on Bristol Bridge, near Castle Park.

"I was scared - and I never get scared," he said.

"I was at home. They called me over Facebook to say they were with Simone and she had collapsed.

"I got there in about 15 minutes. I found her in a very aggravated state."

Simone and George smiling in front of the sea
George is now caring for Simone while she recovers [Family photo]

They spent the night at A&E, where Simone suffered repeated seizures.

Doctors told them the effects of the drug would steadily stop. But, days later, she says she is still unable to talk without stumbling over her words.

The couple have been told to expect the results from the MRI scan early next week.

"This has not only physically harmed me, it's emotionally harmed me," said Ms White.

"I don't know for sure what the diagnosis is and if it's going to affect me long-term.

"I won't be able to process it until I know."

The self-employed cleaner is currently unable to work, and doctors have told her not to drive.

Police are now investigating and have urged witnesses to come forward.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson said: "We're investigating an incident in which a woman required hospital treatment in a suspected spiking incident while visiting a bar in Bristol.

"She had been with a friend in Bristol city centre between 4pm and 6pm on Saturday 4 May before falling unwell and being taken to hospital.

"Officers are keen to hear from anyone who has information that could help the investigation, particularly anyone who was at Tonight Josephine in Baldwin Street between 4pm and 5pm that day."

'An appalling crime'

A spokesperson from the Home Office said: "Spiking is an appalling crime which can have a lasting impact on victims, and we are committed to tackling it.

"Anyone who commits spiking faces up to 10 years behind bars.

"We are also modernising existing laws on spiking, making clear - without any doubt - that this is illegal and bringing it further in line with the nature and threat of the offence today."

Almost 20,000 reports of spiking were received in the past five years by 39 police forces that responded to Freedom of Information requests sent out by Channel 4.

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