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3 Jailed In Cases Linked To Overdose Death Of Cabinet Minister’s Daughter

December 5, 1986 GMT

OXFORD, England (AP) _ A judge today jailed two people implicated in the supply of heroin for an Oxford University party at which a Cabinet minister’s daughter died of a heroin overdose.

A third defendant, Sebastian Guinness, 23, an heir to the brewing and banking fortune, was sentenced to four months’ imprisonment for possessing cocaine and heroin.

He was a guest at the party where Olivia Channon, 22-year-old daughter of Trade and Industry Secretary Paul Channon, took the fatal overdose.

The judge told Guinness, Miss Channon’s third cousin, that despite every privilege, he had been ″weak and foolish.″

Paul Dunstan, 31, an unemployed musician who told police he regularly supplied Miss Channon with heroin, was jailed for four years.

The dead woman’s best friend and fellow undergraduate, Rosie Johnston, 23, received a nine-month sentence for possessing drugs and for collecting Miss Channon’s heroin from Dunstan before the party at Oxford’s Christ Church College.

Miss Channon died June 11 from an overdose of drugs and alcohol after an all-night drink-and-drugs party in the room of another Oxford undergraduate, German Count Gottfried von Bismarck, to celebrate the end of final examinations.

Judge Sir Philip Otton said none of the three - who all pleaded guilty to the charges on which they were sentenced - was responsible for the death of Miss Channon. He described her as a heroin addict.

But he said the sentences showed it was not ″acceptable for the rich and privileged to dabble in hard drugs.″

Miss Channon was a student of modern history at St. Hilda’s College. Her father was appointed to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s 22-member Cabinet in January.

She was found dead the morning after the party, lying fully clothed on von Bismarck’s bed.

Von Bismarck, 22, great-great-grandson of Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, who united Germany in the 19th century, was fined $117 on drug charges Sept. 25.

Miss Johnston burst into tears in the dock at Oxford Crown Court as her lawyer, Robin Simpson, described her grief and guilt over the death of Miss Channon.

″She will have to live with it,″ said Simpson.

He said Miss Channon began taking heroin around the summer of 1985 and built up contacts in London from whom she bought the drug.

He said the case was a warning to every undergraduate at the university.

″If that (Miss Channon’s death) does not bring any of them to their senses, any who have been taking hard drugs, then God help them,″ said Simpson.