Woman Disfigured By Drug Addiction Dodges Jail Time

By McCarton Ackerman 12/26/14

A judge took pity on a UK woman who fell victim to the toxic party drug GBL.


A British judge has spared a former drug addict of jail time after hearing her story of addiction and witnessing firsthand how drug use had ravaged her face.

Mikaila Tyhurst, 28, became hooked on the party drug and former legal high, GBL, in 2009. Her addiction led to her losing custody of her 18-month-old daughter, suffering severe liver damage and ending up on life support 15 times, in addition to nearly 1,000 hospital visits. Her drug use was also triggered by several abusive relationships with men who she claims treated her like a “rag doll.”

Her physical appearance was also affected after her front teeth were knocked out after falling over during a drug-fueled night, while the GBL caused her skin to become blotchy and covered in spots. The formerly blond teenager also saw her hair color turn a mousey shade of brown over the years. She admitted to looking far older than most women in their twenties.

Tyhurst pled guilty this week to assault, occasioning actual body harm, possession of a knife and theft over an incident at a man’s home in the town of Padiham. Although she could have faced significant jail time, she received an 18-month suspended jail term after the judge heard her story. He was also encouraged by her allegedly staying clean for two years, completing a detox program and looking to undergo a liver transplant.

“The bold print does not reveal the full horror of your own life. Your adult life can only be described by sustained abuse at the hands of men,” said Judge Andrew Woolman. “You had an appalling time and it led you to drug abuse. These facts allow me to take an exceptional course for what you have done."

Tyhurst also accepted an 18-month supervision requirement and 12 months in a drug rehab program. Her addiction has left her liver operating at 1 percent, meaning that a liver transplant will inevitably be necessary in order for her to live. Tyhurst has criminal convictions dating back to 2000, but said she is determined to turn her life around in order to avoid jail time and win back custody of her daughter.

"I am trying to get my life back on track and I haven't been on that stuff for a year,” she said. “I wish I didn't get into trouble. I'm embarrassed for myself. I see my daughter all the time…she doesn't know about this."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.