Broadcaster Andrew Castle has revealed he was ‘beyond function’ after consuming a spiked drink during a night out – and admitted one woman tried to take advantage of him while in his distressed state.
Speaking on his Sunday morning radio show for LBC, the 57-year-old former British tennis player recalled the incident from 2003 during a night out in central London with friends.
He was discussing the issue amid a reported 198 incidents of drink spiking across the UK, plus 24 reports of people who say they have been injected with ‘date-rape’ drugs while at nightclubs and parties, in the last two months.
Broadcaster and former tennis player Andrew Castle has revealed how he believes his drink was spiked and he was left ‘beyond function’ during a night out in London with friends in 2003
Castle told listeners: ‘I’ve taken a spiked drink. I don’t know whether I was the subject of that or whether or not I was sharing a drink with somebody. We had a right old time. There were hens and stags, we had dinner and everyone was dancing.
‘There is a blimin’ big difference between having your drink spiked and having too much to drink. I was beyond function.
‘This woman got into a cab with me – and everyone’s going to say that’s your story – well it was not that comfortable.
‘A woman got into the cab with me and was saying – let me just say – [things that were] unbelievably inappropriate. I was completely out with the fairies on this one.’
He added that he believed the woman wanted ‘[to take] advantage and blackmail and all sorts.’
Describing the situation to his guest, Dawn Dines, CEO and founder of charity Stamp Out Spiking UK (SOS UK), the radio host said the effect on him was that he became ‘compliant’ and vulnerable to those around him.
‘You just float around in a mist that this thing is happening and it’s no good at all.’
He added: ‘I got really frightened and the adrenalin really kicked in. I got very protective of myself and the situation. I got very tense with the whole thing even though I was off my rocker.’
Castle – who at the time was a presenter on ITV breakfast programme, GMTV – said he was left affected for the next 24 hours afterwards.
‘Everyone had to leave the house. I was rolling around in agony for a whole day.’
The 57-year-old (pictured centre in 2003 with his fellow GMTV presenters) said he was left feeling unwell and ‘rolling around in agony’ after the incident
Home Secretary Priti Patel last week demanded an urgent update from police investigating the scale of the UK’s so-called ‘spiking epidemic’.
Police chiefs have also been tasked by the Commons Home Affairs Committee to urgently provide more information on their assessment of the scale of the problem after reports of incidents in several parts of the country, including Nottingham, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Groups from more than 30 universities around the UK have joined an online campaign calling for the boycott of nightclubs, with campaigners seeking ‘tangible’ changes to make them safer, such as covers/stoppers for drinks, better training for staff and more rigorous searches of clubbers.
Andrew Castle (pictured in 2003 with Penny Smith and Kate Garraway) revealed the incident amid a surge in drinks being ‘spiked’ and young women being injected unknowingly with drugs
The Girls’ Night In campaign will spread across 43 university towns and cities over the next fortnight. It comes in response to a reported rise in drinks being ‘spiked’ and a new alarming trend of girls being injected unknowingly with drugs.
Victims have become violently ill while out and only realised they had been injected when they found ‘pin prick’ marks on their bodies.
Those taking part in the boycott will stay at home on a designated night to raise awareness of the attacks and encourage venues to improve security.
A petition launched last week to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry has already gained more than 130,000 signatures.
In recent days a number of women have shared their experiences of being spiked, including Ilana El-baz, 20, who recalled how she was ‘left semi-paralysed’ on a staircase after returning home from a Bristol nightclub three weeks ago.
Ilana El-baz, 20, recalled how she was ‘left semi-paralysed’ on a staircase after returning home from a Bristol nightclub three weeks ago
On Saturday, two teenagers, 18 and 19, were arrested ‘on suspicion of conspiracy to administer poison’ in Nottingham, while a 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to administer them at a nightclub in Lincoln.
According to the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Rohypnol and GHB are two of the most prominent ‘date rape’ drugs used by criminals.
In the case of GHB, having as little as 2g of the drug – which is often a powder that can be mixed in an alcoholic drink – can result in deep sleep within minutes.
The half-life of the drug is 27 minutes and is almost impossible to detect after 96 hours.
Experts warn that Rohypnol is also a powerful sedative with legitimate uses as a pre-anaesthetic or a sleeping pill.
Used as a date rape drug, it can start affected a victim within ten minutes and reaches a peak some eight hours later.
It is colourless, odourless and tasteless and causes sedation or euphoria within 20 to 30 minutes of ingestion.
What do the experts say on reports of injection spiking?
Is it possible?
Yes – and there are credible reports where people have woken up with needle marks having been spiked.
But the likelihood of it being a widespread phenomena is ‘deeply improbable’, according to one medical consultant.
David Caldicott, an emergency medicine consultant and founder of drug testing project WEDINOS, told VICE News: ‘The technical and medical knowledge required to perform this would make this deeply improbable.
‘It’s really hard to stick a needle in someone without them noticing, especially if you have to keep the needle in there for long enough, maybe 20 seconds, to inject enough drugs to cause this.’
Could someone not give the injection really fast?
Yes – but they’d need a very powerful drug to do so discreetly, experts say.
GHB is one of the most well-known ‘date rape’ drug and is also self-administered in small doses by people recreationally.
But Guy Jones, senior scientist at drugs charity the Loop, told VICE it would be a ‘poor candidate’ for injection because of the large amounts of fluid needed.
‘Therefore (it would require) a thick, painful needle. This means that the substance involved would be something that would be highly detectable for several days in a toxicology screening,’ he said.
Adam Winstock, director of the Global Drug Survey, added: ‘There are very few easily accessible drugs / medicines that could be given intramuscular in a small enough volume that people would not notice and the effects would take some time to come on.
‘What you see in the movies is not reality. People need to keep their drinks close to them, avoid taking them from strangers and keep an eye out for their mates.’
Can drugs be administered to any part of the body?
Yes – but some parts are more effective than others
Mr Jones told VICE: ‘Where drugs can be injected non-intravenously, there are specific injection sites that do not work well.
‘The back is one of these unsuitable sites due to the low fat-muscle content, and high concentration of pain receptors.’
What about drink spiking?
While injection spiking is still possible, drink spiking is a lot more common.
Incidents of drink spiking in the UK increased by 108 per cent between 2015 and 2018, with 179 incidents taking place in 2017 alone.
This is only the officially recorded numbers – and is likely to be much higher as it is common for people not to report it to police.
Charity Drinkaware advise: ‘Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know and if they’re available, use drink stoppers, which can be purchased online, for the top of your bottle.’
Rohypnol (or Roofie) and Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) are the most commonly known ‘date-rape’ drugs.
Recreational drugs like Ecstasy, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD), Ketamine and other ‘party-drugs’ are sometimes used to spike alcoholic drinks.