A university student has claimed she was spiked by a needle while out at Nottingham’s Pryzm nightclub.
Zara Owen, 19, who is studying French and Spanish at the University of Nottingham, was out with friends on Monday, October 11.
She said she entered the nightclub on Lower Parliament Street and made her way to the bar – but that is the last thing she can remember before waking up in her bed the next day.
It comes as another nightclub, Stealth, said it had also received reports of two women feeling unwell, who suspected they may have been spiked when Nottinghamshire Live contacted them for a comment about Zara’s experience. Stealth said it is working with police who are investigating the incident.
Zara, who had not had much to drink, woke up with a sharp pain in her leg instead of a hangover, and no recollection of what had happened the night before.
She said: “I couldn’t remember anything – I had no memory of the night at all.
“It’s like I wasn’t even there, which is obviously terrifying to look back on. I woke up very confused. I was in a lot of pain – I had a shooting pain in my leg and I was limping really heavily.”
Her friends told her that while out she had wandered off and into a nearby chicken shop where luckily she was found by another friend who made sure she got in an Uber and went home safely.
She believes she may have been spiked due to her complete memory loss, along with the pain in her leg which she believes may have been from being injected by a needle.
Zara, who is originally from Surrey, later went to the hospital to get herself checked out – but, after a wait of more than eight hours, left in the early hours of the morning without being seen.
She has instead booked herself an appointment with her GP and, after looking at her leg more closely, she noticed a pinprick indicating her suspicions may have been correct.
She continued: “For me to have left the club by myself is completely out of character – it’s very dangerous.
“I always go anywhere in a nightclub with someone, whether that is to the bar, to the toilet – anything. When you go into Pryzm, you go through a metal detector – so for someone to get a needle in there is unbelievable.
“It’s very scary that something like this can happen.”
Zara was wearing jeans on the night out which means any needle would have had to have gone through denim and into her leg. She has since reported the incident to Nottinghamshire Police.
Zara posted about the terrifying ordeal online, to try and warn others about what happened. She says girls are “running out of ways to protect themselves” and wants to raise awareness about needles potentially being used to spike people.
She says she has seen similar stories from other women who believe they may have been spiked by a syringe while on a night out.
A spokesperson for Pryzm Nottingham said: “We take all allegations of this nature seriously. The safety and welfare of our guests is our number one priority and we do everything we can to create a safe and fun night out.
“We urge anyone who sees suspicious behaviour, or suspects they have been a victim of spiking, to seek assistance immediately from a member of staff or security, who are trained to help and who also have the support of our onsite medic.
“We would also encourage them to contact police, so that any allegation can be properly investigated.”
A spokesperson for Stealth said: “It is absolutely unacceptable for women to have to live in fear of being spiked on nights out in venues across the UK.
“Here at Stealth, we have to date had two women who have reported feeling unwell and suspected they might have been spiked. Both were seen by our on site medic, and we are currently liaising with Police to aid in their investigations.
“We take all reports of this nature very seriously as our aim to create a safe environment for people to come together and enjoy a night out. We have anti-spiking bottle stoppers and protective drinks covers available free of charge with all drinks on the bar.
“We will continue to do our upmost to eradicate anything of this nature and would urge everyone to make their concerns known to us as soon as possible on the night so we can investigate immediately.
“We would urge anyone who ever feels unwell in our venue to please alert a member of staff who can take you to be seen by our onsite medic.
“We will continue to carry out thorough searches, and capture CCTV footage that we can pass to the police to aid any investigations. Anyone we suspect of spiking or coming into our venues with the intention to carry out spiking will be detained and the police informed.”
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Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We are currently investigating reports of individuals suspecting that their drinks have been spiked. Linked to this a small number of victims have said that they may have felt a scratching sensation as if someone may have spiked them physically. Consequently, we are actively investigating all these reports.
“We are treating all of these incidents very seriously and are working with licensed premises and our partner agencies including the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham City Council and East Midlands Ambulance Service in undertaking thorough investigations.
“We have a dedicated group of officers currently carrying out CCTV enquires at various venues where we have received such reports.
“Our enquiries into these incidents are ongoing but we understand people may be concerned about incidents like this and want to reassure the public we are working incredibly hard to investigate.
“We have recently arrested and conditionally bailed a local male as part of our investigations which continue.
“What we need is that if any person experiences such an incident whilst on a night out that they or their friends make contact with us immediately in order that we can investigate at the earliest opportunity and secure evidence quickly.
“We do not believe that these are targeted incidents; they are distinctly different from anything we have seen previously as victims have disclosed a physical scratch type sensation before feeling very unwell. This is subtly different from feelings of intoxication through alcohol according to some victims.”