A promising medical student has been found dead with a container of an unclassified drug near her.

Hester Stewart, 21, was found at a house in Patcham on Sunday morning, with a container of a GBL close to her.

The colourless, odourless drug, used on the party scene, is legal, freely available on the internet and not classified by the Home Office.

It mixes with the body's stomach acid to create date rape drug GHB.

Hester, who lived in the Queens Park area of Brighton, but grew up in Lewes, had been at an awards ceremony with her cheerleading squad, the Brighton and Sussex Waves, at the Thistle Hotel, Brighton, on Saturday night, before going to a party in Patcham.

It is not known whether Hester, a student of molecular medicine at Sussex University, took the drug deliberately.

Hester's mother, nutritionist Maryon Stewart, from Warren Road, Brighton, said: "She was a dream of a daughter.

"I am devastated. I have lost the most wonderful daughter.

"She saved our dog when the house flooded in Lewes. She got a bravery award from the RSPCA.

"She was going to work at the hospital in the summer, holding the hands of blind people, being their eyes.

"She was just a shining light.

"They found this substance in the room where she was found. We don't know the circumstances.

"She would never have bought it off the internet. How she came to take it we will probably never know.

"How do I come to terms with that?

"I have to face up to the fact that I had the most wonderful 21 years with her as my daughter.

"She had so many dreams she wanted to be a surgeon.

"She wanted to make a difference in the world.

"But I have to come to terms with the fact that she is never going to come home."

Hester had a family dinner with her mother and brothers Chesney, 26, and Simeon, 17, on Friday night.

Ms Stewart said: "She was telling me all about how wonderful her life was.

"We said how much we loved each other. It was almost like a goodbye."

Hester's sister Phoebe, 27, said the family could not understand why GBL is legal in the UK when it has been banned in Canada and the US since 2004.

The drug is sold cheaply in large quantities on the internet, with one 2ml dose costing as little as 50p.

There is no mention of GBL on drugs information resource Frank.

Hester's family are now hoping to petition the Government to ban the drug.

Mother Ms Stewart said: "We want to stop this happening to other people and make them aware. Then we'll feel we have done something at least.

Hester's father, Alan Stewart, who is a doctor in Lewes, was sent a medical leaflet about the drug five days before his daughter died, but the rest of her family had never heard of it.

After leaving the awards ceremony that she attended with her cheerleading teammates on Saturday evening, Hester went to two bars before going to the house in Patcham.

She had arranged to meet brother Chesney for a drink but called him at 3am to say she was going to a party instead.

Former Brighton College pupil Hester was born in Hove and spent most of her childhood in Sussex.

Sussex Police are investigating the cause of her death and awaiting toxicology results.

Dr John Armstrong, head of the Biochemistry department, who taught Hester at Sussex University, said: "Hester was in the second year of a degree in molecular medicine.

"She was an outstanding and talented student, on track to get a First Class Honours degree, and was preparing to apply to medical school.

"She also found time to act as a mentor for younger students.

"She was outgoing, charming and universally popular, and she will be greatly missed by many in the university community."

The university said counselling was being provided to unprecedented numbers of students and tutors in the wake of Hester's death.

A post mortem is due to be carried out today before funeral arrangements can be made.

Today at Sussex University v Brighton University varsity games, contestants will wear black armbands and remember Hester with two minutes silence at 2.30pm.

Hester's sister Phoebe has set up a Facebook group called In Memory of Princess Hessie after Hester's mother was inundated with messages of condolence.

More than 300 of the student's friends have joined the group and left messages.

Anissa Patel said: "I have so many wonderful memories of you and your infectious giggle. I will never forget your friendship Hess, and my thoughts are with your friends and family."

April Edmonds-Ball said: "Little Hester, an amazingly talented and very funny young lady, I'll always remember you re silly laugh."

Becca O Neill wrote: "You were the sweetest person I know. You were so happy all the time it was like an angel had sneezed on you."

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