Family pay tribute to son, 20, who was killed by his bandmate who stabbed him 32 times while high on psychedelic drug called Mr Happy

  • Sam Donley, then 19, stabbed his best friend Liam Miller, 20, 32 times 
  • Both had taken the hallucinogenic drug called 'Smiles' in July in York
  • Donley told police he was hallucinating and felt he was in a dream and had to stab Mr Miller - whom he thought was a skull - to return to the real world
  • He was sentenced to six years and eight months at Leeds Crown Court 

A grieving family have paid tribute to their son who was killed by his best friend who stabbed him in a 'drug-crazed frenzy'.

Samuel Donley, 20, knifed Liam Miller 32 times and then attacked an innocent passer-by after experimenting with a hallucinogenic drug - called Mr Happy - in July in York.

He was sentenced to six years and eight months at Leeds Crown Court after pleading guilty to manslaughter. 

Donley was also given a concurrent sentence of 32 months for wounding Theophilos Theophilou, 60. 

In a family statement, Liam's father, brother and sister and their partners and his nephew, said: 'It is impossible to find the words to describe how we feel about Liam's death. He is the first thing we think about in the morning and the last thing we think about at night.'

Jailed: Sam Donley, who was 19 at the time of the attack, killed his best friend Liam Miller after experimenting with a drug called 'Mr Happy' 

Jailed: Sam Donley, who was 19 at the time of the attack, killed his best friend Liam Miller after experimenting with a drug called 'Mr Happy' 

A court heard how the bandmates had tried illegal class A drug 25i-NBOMe, known as N-bomb, Smiles and Mr Happy. 

They were alone together at Donley's family home on July 27 as his parents were away. They had performed together on July 24 for their band Nocebo.

Both men took the drug but when they did not feel the effects immediately, they decided to take some more.

Mr Miller, who was 20 at the time, messaged a friend via Facebook saying: 'My mate is bad, what do I do?'

The friend replied telling him to remind Donley he had taken LSD and the effects would soon be over. Mr Miller read the message but never wrote back.

In a catastrophic turn of events Donley then attacked his best friend and killed him. 

Donley, who was 19 at the time of the attack, told police he was hallucinating and felt he was in a dream and had to stab his best friend - whom he thought was a skull - so he could return to the real world.

Tragic: Liam Miller, 20, was stabbed 32 times by his friend after they both took the drug called 25i-NBOMe, known as N-bomb, Smiles and Mr Happy

Tragic: Liam Miller, 20, was stabbed 32 times by his friend after they both took the drug called 25i-NBOMe, known as N-bomb, Smiles and Mr Happy

Mr Miller tried to escape but only reached the gate at the end of the driveway. 

As he lay outside, Mr Theophilou tried to help him. As he attempted to intervene, he was also stabbed several times by Donley with a kitchen knife.

At the same time, Donley's neighbours were disturbed by the noise and came out to see what was happening.

On realising the situation, one immediately gave first aid to Mr Miller. The other ran after Donley, preventing him from inflicting further harm to Mr Theophilou.

He made Donley return to the house and shut him inside, all the while holding on to the door to prevent him from escaping and injuring anyone else.

Once inside the house, Donley started to stab himself in the throat. 

When emergency services arrived, Donley was arrested following a violent confrontation.

Police had to taser him twice and he stabbed himself again before they could handcuff him. He was taken to Leeds General Infirmary before being released into police custody.

Paramedics tended to Mr Miller at the scene, but were unable to save him because of the severity of his injuries.

Scene of the crime: Police had to taser Donley twice and he stabbed himself again before they were able to handcuff him following the attack on July 27 

Scene of the crime: Police had to taser Donley twice and he stabbed himself again before they were able to handcuff him following the attack on July 27 

CLASS A DRUG KNOWN AS 'SMILES' AND MR HAPPY THAT CAN KILL

25i-NBOMe, also known as 25i, INB-MeO, Cimbi-5, Smiles and Mr Happy, was first reported as a synthetic drug in 2003.

The potential effects of the drug can be fatal. Users of the drug have been found to suffer from paranoia, violence, agitation, seizures and hallucinogenic effects.

It can also cause increased heart rate and blood pressure which can in extreme cases lead to heart failure. 

It was declared illegal in 2010 and was made a Class A drug in 2013.   

Donley was originally charged with murder. 

The charge was changed to manslaughter after the prosecution consulted with psychiatrists and toxicologists about the effects of the drug. 

They told them Donley could not have known what he was doing, so the prosecution could not prove he had intended to kill Mr Miller.  

In a statement Liam's father, brother and sister and their partners and Liam's nephew, said: 'It is impossible to find the words to describe how we feel about Liam's death.

'He is the first thing we think about in the morning and the last thing we think about at night.

'It is hard to accept that he had his whole life in front of him. It was such a waste of life and he didn't deserve what happened.

'Without any doubt, this is the hardest and most painful experience any human being will have to go through.

'It is very difficult for us to put into words or express how we feel or what we wanted the outcome to be. We know that nothing can ever bring him back.

'Nothing is going to make up for the suffering our family and friends have had to deal with over the last few months.' 

Police have since warned of the dangers of psychedelic drugs.

Detective Inspector Mark Pearson of North Yorkshire Police's Major Crime Unit, said: 'This case is one of absolute tragedy brought about through the use of illegal drugs.

'What started out as two best friends enjoying a night together, has ended in catastrophic circumstances.

'Liam Miller's promising life has been cut short. Sam Donley is facing several years in prison and has to live with the fact that he has killed his best friend.

If ever there was a stark reminder of the dangers in taking drugs - this is it.'

 

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