Chemsex, drugs and death: The lawyer who lost his lover

chemex death hendron orig_00001628
chemex death hendron orig_00001628

    JUST WATCHED

    A tragic tale of sex and drugs

MUST WATCH

A tragic tale of sex and drugs 02:05

Story highlights

  • Barrister Henry Hendron supplied drugs which killed boyfriend Miguel Jimenez
  • The lawyer engaged in chemsex most weekends, and has warned of the dangers

(CNN)It could be the plot from a Bret Easton Ellis novel featuring drugs, sex, death, and an almighty fall from grace. But this is no fictional setting.

As lovers do, Henry Hendron was sitting up in bed with his boyfriend one night, speaking of the depths of his infatuation.
    "I said to him: 'Miguel, I don't know what I'd do without you,'" said 35-year-old Hendron, a successful lawyer from London.
    Barrister Henry Hendron.
    "And he said: 'Oh come on Henners -- which is what he called me -- what if I fell under a bus?'"
    A few hours later Miguel Jimenez, an 18-year-old waiter from Colombia, was dead.
    "I woke up and turned him over," remembers Hendron of that winter's morning in January last year. "Mouth frozen, blood there, clearly dead."
    In desperation, he performed CPR on his boyfriend until the ambulance arrived -- "It must have been four or five minutes I was doing it, it felt like a lifetime."
    "At one point blood starts to trickle out of his mouth, and I'm thinking 'he must be alive.' But he's not. I've broken his ribs or something, and moving that blood around."
    When the police arrived, Hendron's nightmare only worsened.
    Within minutes of being told his boyfriend was dead, Hendron was arrested, handcuffed, and marched to a waiting police van.
    At that moment, "my whole world came crumbling down," he said.
    Jimenez had overdosed on a cocktail of drugs -- which Hendron admits he supplied.
    Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
    Hendron pleaded guilty in March to two counts of possession with intent to supply mephedrone and GBL.
    Today he was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work, at London's Central Criminal Court.
    On the night of his death, Jimenez took GHB (commonly known as "G") and mephedrone (also known as "meow-meow"), according to Hendron.
    GHB is particularly easy to overdose on, and potentially lethal when taken with alcohol -- as Jimenez did on the night he died.
    In the past, Hendron said the couple who had been dating for one year, would take these drugs together during group sex sessions -- called "chemsex" or "party and play" in the U.S.
    The drugs, along with crystal meth, are often associated with chemsex due to their ability to induce heightened arousal, sexual stamina, and reduce inhibition.
    Sex sessions may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days, and Hendron estimates he was spending "anything up to £1,000 ($1,400) a weekend" on drugs.
    However on the night of Jimenez's death, there was no such party.
    Instead, Hendron says his teenage boyfriend took the drugs after dinner, with plenty of wine, at the home they shared in Temple -- an area of central London popular with lawyers, and across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice.
    A high-profile barrister who has represented MPs, aristocrats and reality TV stars, Hendron was working the next day, and so didn't take any drugs the night Jimenez died.
    His partner's death turned the successful lawyer's world upside down -- "it was the other side of the coin," he said.
    "I'd gone from a situation of having everything -- professionally, socially, financially -- to losing the love of your life, losing your career, and where there is no future. Or there is no certain future," he told CNN ahead of his sentencing on May 9.
    "And it was only because I chose drugs, and I chose that lifestyle."
    Miguel Jimenez died after taking GHB and mephodrone.
    Up until the age of 30, Hendron, who came from a conservative Catholic family and was earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with the prestigious Strand Chambers law firm, had never touched drugs in his life.
    But after trying them at a private event, he quickly became hooked, engaging in chemsex sessions most weekends.
    He said they offered an escape from a high-pressure job with 18-hour work days -- and he wasn't alone.
    "In the London gay chemsex scene, a lot of people that do that are actually doctors," he said. "They're professionals, they're lawyers.
    "And a lot of them manage to juggle this lifestyle -- weekends of drugs -- and then they go to work perhaps a bit worn on Monday, but they manage."
    Indeed Hendron's mother didn't even know he was gay, much less that he took drugs, until she read about it in the Daily Mail.
    Jimenez's mother could not be reached for comment, but Hendron says she, along with his twin brother Richard, also a barrister who has been representing him throughout the trial, have been a source of strength.
    Growing up in a well-to-do area of west London, Hendron's dentist father died when the twins were babies. Today Hendron speaks with the cut-glass English accent of a privileged upbringing.
    When Hendron talks of the heartache of Jimenez's death, and the deeply personal details of his sex life, it is matter-of-factly. In a manner befitting a barrister.
    Miguel Jimenez and Henry Hendron.
    Hendron says Jimenez's mother, understandably, took a little more time to come round.
    "In the beginning she rightly blamed me and couldn't speak to me," he said.
    Over time the pair have become close, and Hendron now visits both her, and his former boyfriend's grave, in Colombia once a month.
    "We are each other's rock of support for what has been a nightmare over the last 14 months," he said of his relationship with Jimenez's mother.
    At today's sentencing, Judge Richard Marks told Hendron: "I bear in mind the anguish you feel over the death of your partner and the very moving letter from his mother in which far from wanting you to be punished -- she stands by you."
    After Jimenez's death, Hendron very nearly died himself, embarking on chemsex binges that at one point saw him overdose on GHB -- and end up in intensive care.
    Today, dressed in a trim navy suit and clutching a folder of papers for his next meeting, Hendron appears to have emerged from his darkest days -- but the weight of them still hang heavy on his thin shoulders.
    "I was the older one who should have known better. I was the one that funded those drugs. I should have been the one to say stop," he said.
    "And you know, it's me that's taken away my happiness. And he was a core pillar of my happiness.
    "I feel totally responsible."
    Hendron says he became addicted to the heightened sexual highs the drugs offered -- and has warned others to carefully consider the risks involved.
    "At the time it was quite fun -- you're around other guys, you think this is a good time, you think you're having good sex, and then you become used to it," he said.
    "And then that becomes all that you know -- in terms of sex on drugs at the weekend."
    The barrister who carved his career in the court room, has now also been judged in the same setting.
    "There isn't much I can do apart from try and move on," he said.
    "The pain doesn't become any less. You just become more used to it, more familiar with it."