A GRIEVING mother’s handbag containing her dead son’s belongings was stolen during a Christmas charity event in his memory.

Billy Mullin, from Worthing, had a heart attack after taking MDMA on his 24th birthday. He died three days later on November 12 last year.

He had a seizure after taking the class A drug and was taken to Worthing Hospital before later being moved to London for frozen plasma treatment. He died shortly after his arrival.

Redhill And Reigate Life: Billy Mullin, from Worthing, in hospital Billy Mullin, from Worthing, in hospital

In memory of her son, Billy’s mother Nicci Parish set up Billy And Beyond, a community interest company to support young people's mental wellbeing through fun and educational activities.

The group had organised a children’s Christmas grotto in St George’s Church in Kemp Town, Brighton, on December 2 as part of the local late-night shopping.

At around 6pm, Nicci’s handbag, which had been placed among other bags and coats, was stolen.

Redhill And Reigate Life: Nicci Parish at the Billy and Beyond event in St George’s Church in Kemp Town Nicci Parish at the Billy and Beyond event in St George’s Church in Kemp Town

Along with her purse and iPad, the bag contained sentimental items including her Billy's belt and photos of him.

“We had worked so hard making sure it was a lovely experience for children visiting,” Nicci said. “I am just heartbroken someone would steal my bag like that.

“Inside my bag along with usual keys, purse and so on, I had a rock from Billy’s funeral that I’d carried in my bag since November 2020.

“Also, my purse had a few irreplaceable photos of my boy.”

Sussex Police confirmed they had received a report of a stolen handbag at an event in St George’s Road, Brighton, between 5pm and 7pm and enquiries are continuing.

Nicci said her bank card was used at three places on the night it was stolen – Budgens in Upper St James's Street at 7pm, Local Star in Edward Street 11 minutes later and Convenience Corner in St James's Street at 7.15pm.

“The bag had a red heart hung on the outside that someone had made me when I was feeling low,” she said. “The bits of Billy’s that I carried around with me gave me comfort when I was out.

“I just desperately want to find my bag contents as it was probably dumped somewhere around St George’s Church.”

Redhill And Reigate Life: The stolen handbag The stolen handbag

Also in the bag was a selection of badges of Billy’s favourite bands and a sign which his friends pinned to their backs at his funeral.

“It also contained my rose pink iPad with ‘happy birthday’ engraved on the back which was a gift from my husband and boys a few years ago,” ssaid Nicci.

She recalled how she had spoken to her son just hours before the incident.

"I'd face-timed him that day to say happy birthday. I will never forget that phone call. It will haunt me for the rest of my life,” she said.

"When I got to the hospital and finally got to see Billy, he was lying in a pool of his own blood."

She remembered her eldest son as a “happy, naughty but never boring 24-year-old that loved everyone he met”.

“He was a carer for adults with learning difficulties, a part-time model and an aspiring photographer – and then he wasn’t,” she said.

“The loss is immeasurable.”

Redhill And Reigate Life: Billy Mullin, from Worthing Billy Mullin, from Worthing

On November 9, 2020, Billy and his girlfriend wanted to go out and celebrate his birthday but were unable due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Instead, he opted to have a few drinks mixed with MDMA, according to Nicci.

Within hours of taking the drugs, he had a seizure, and his girlfriend called an ambulance.

Nicci was told her son was unlikely to survive the trip from Worthing Hospital to London for treatment.

“We were told even with this, if he survived his organs were failing and he’d lost his fingers and toes,” she said.

Nicci said Billy had taken drugs recreationally before, but “was not a drug addict”.

Anyone with information about the theft of the handbag is asked to contact police online or by calling 101, quoting serial 742 of 03/12.