Mother of Three Shares Drink-spiking Terror and Aftermath

Mandy Marion 1

This article originally appeared for Grant Broadcasters.

At 11:00pm a mother is out, laughing with friends at a table in Brick Factory, the 37-year-old’s favourite pub on Hobart’s bustling Salamanca strip of nightlife.

Five minutes later, and just a few sips in to her wine, she has lost her eyesight, unable to see the strangers that surround her in the busy bar. Her limbs are jelly, refusing to respond to her command.

She realises her body is beginning to shut down.

“You can be 37-years-old, a professional with three kids, but it just doesn’t discriminate. People need to know that.”

Four minutes pass while she stumbles the five metres outside and frantically scrolls through her phone to call Adam, her husband and an intensive-care paramedic.

“Help, my drink has been spiked, I’m in Salamanca, help,” she manages to get out in a slurred panic, begging him to help her.

At 11:46 she collapses on the hard concrete of Salamanca Square, landing heavily on her shoulder and face, an impact that would later bruise more than her body.

Her brain tells her to get up, but her limbs refuse to move. Then, her mind goes blank.

Volunteers from St Johns Ambulance arrive, followed by her husband. But, Mandy’s effects were far from over. A panic attack gripped her for the next two hours, convincing her death was imminent.

“This isn’t me, I didn’t do this, I’ve been drugged, this isn’t me, I didn’t do this,” she yells, desperate to convince people that she didn’t drink too much.

As she slips in and out of consciousness, she is convinced she is going to die. She can’t recognize her husband crouching above her.

When she is finally able to identify him, she begs him to tell their three daughters she loves them. She is convinced that these are her final moments.

Mandy Marmion, a mother of three daughters, counts herself lucky from that evening. She was able to stumble out of the bar, to the bright lights of the busy square.

Mandy Marmion Family

In the midst of a panic attack, Mandy was sure she would never see her three girls again. Image: Supplied.

Earlier that evening she had enjoyed a work-dinner to celebrate Christmas, before meeting up with friends who confirm that at 11:30pm, Mandy was fine.

“I remember asking: why would someone do this to me? Who would want to hurt me?”

“It was just a normal night at Brick, I wasn’t feeling uncomfortable at all,” Mandy says a few days after the incident.

Anyone’s Victim

Her friends were shocked to hear what happened. Mandy is normally a beacon of confidence and strength.

But Mandy says her experience shows that drink-spiking can happen to anyone.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, how strong you are, if you are a black belt – if you are incapacitated like that you’ve got no hope of being able to stop yourself being attacked, it was just terrifying,” she says.

“I remember asking: why would someone do this to me? Who would want to hurt me?”

The answer, so far, is unclear.

Some girls have reported seeing a strange man in Salamanca that evening, describing him as having ‘extremely predatory’ behaviour and ‘stalking solo, intoxicated women.’

But so far, there is no confirmed link between the man and the drink spiking.

Tasmania Police are investigating the situation, including looking at CCTV footage, but say that cases of drink-spiking are “generally rare.”

Scars of all sorts

Mandy made a report to the police over the weekend, where she was asked to attend the hospital for drug testing.

But when she arrived at the hospital, she discovered no such test exists.

“They told me they didn’t know why the police sent her there, because they have no capacity to test for those drugs.”

According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, drug tests can only pick up some traces up to 24-hours after the consumption occurs.

Mandy received treatment for bruising around her eye, a mild-concussion, and shoulder injury, all from the fall she took when she collapsed.

Mandy’s brutally raw video has been shared almost 3000 times. VIDEO: Supplied.

But her psychological injuries run much deeper, she says, saying that it’s underestimated.

“The physical symptoms are pretty awful, but knowing that you are violated so badly is terrifying.”

Walking through town earlier today Mandy noticed her slumped shoulders and lack of eye contact.

“My confidence has had a huge shake,” she says. “I guess I have a lot of recovery mentally to do that way, to try and recover from this.”

Once recovered, Mandy will push for better safety and understanding around drink-spiking.

A Move Forward

Her ideas include requirements for high-quality CCTV in bars to catch offenders, and a web-based system that allows victims to record details of occurrences.

“There is no data on where this is happening, to what extent it is happening, and what is being affected.”

She’s applauded Tasmania Police for their assistance, saying they’ve been doing what they can with the little information that is available to them.

“It’s very hard to prove that I was drugged, especially without having any sort of testing to prove what was in my system,” Mandy explains. “All I can do is give them the timelines and have other people who were with me to witness what had happened.”

“They need hard evidence if they are ever going to prosecute someone, and they’re not going to get that from this case, which is also terrifying.”

Mandy Marmion 4

Mandy’s husband Adam received a terrifying call from Mandy, pleading for help. IMAGE: Supplied.

Mandy hopes that sharing her story will encourage others to speak up in the future.

“For all the people out there who are too scared to come forward, and too embarrassed, or the situation doesn’t let them, if I can stop one person from having to go through this, that will make this worthwhile.”

“You can be 37-years-old, a professional with three kids, but it just doesn’t discriminate. People need to know that.”

Since sharing her post about the traumatic night on Facebook, Mandy has had an outpouring of support. The post has gone viral, and not just with females.

“I’ve been contacted by quite a few males that have had this happen to them as well … so it’s terrifying for everyone,” she explains. “I don’t think it’s just isolated in any way to just females. But it’s certainly the most vulnerable and the most female I’ve ever felt.”

But Mandy says it shouldn’t be up to the victims to try to feel safer, sending a strong message to the predators.

“Just don’t do it. We shouldn’t have to put lots of things into place to try feel safer . . . I think too often it is looked upon that as victims we need to keep ourselves safe, but I did that, it made no difference,” Mandy says.

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