Teen died from ecstasy overdose after celebrating end of exams

Toby Fairclough
Toby Fairclough

Teenager Toby Fairclough died from an overdose of ecstasy after celebrating the end of exams with friends, a coroner heard.

The student put in some money with friends to buy a gram of MDMA - known most commonly as ecstasy - in the form of a white powder which he swallowed and mixed in his drink.

The 17 year old arrived at a friend’s house in North Marston at 9pm on the night of May 22 where he was met by around half a dozen boys of a similar age.

Toby was seen by one of the group swallowing the powder inside the house before then also mixing it in a drink.

The group then headed down to a paddock about 200 yards away from the house with a seated area out of the view of any adults.

Friends recalled seeing the youngster, of Manor Street in Buckingham, jumping around and talking very quickly, but said he was still able to hold a conversation with others.

As the night progressed, Akeley Wood student Toby was seen laid out on the grass twitching, apparently hallucinating and talking to either himself or someone not there.

Before long he became unresponsive and started snoring loudly. Friends believed at this point he had just fallen asleep.

He was put in the recovery position and given blankets to keep him warm. His breathing suddenly became very shallow before the rest of the group called an ambulance at half past midnight.

Detective Sergeant Simon Johnson of Thames Valley Police Force CID told the inquest on Wednesday: “Paramedics arrived on scene but had already instructed Toby’s friends to carry out CPR.

“He was then taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Aylesbury, by stretcher but was pronounced dead at 1.45am having arrived at 1.39.

“No police procedures have been carried out in relation to the death.”

A post mortem examination carried out by Dr Narendra Mungalsingh revealed that the level of MDMA in Toby’s system was very high and was significantly above the typical recreational dose.

The level of the drug was in the fatal range, and the cause of death was recorded as an MDMA over dose.

The inquest heard that the purchase of the drug had been a joint venture and the money was spent on behalf of everyone at the party – no one person was responsible.

Recording a verdict of death by misadventure, Buckinghamshire coroner Richard Hulett said: “My impression was that this was an accidental death or misadventure.

“This means the death was entirely unintended and it went wrong for Toby. He was neither the worst nor the least of the group.

“I record this as misadventure. There is very little difference between this and an accident, but Toby had done something deliberately without intending the outcome.

“The drug was taken for a recreational purpose. Every now and then a youngster pays a terrible price.

“Toby was at the location seen to be taking this drug, but he was not alone I am sure. He was taking this powder and later on was found to be unresponsive.

“He died before he got to the hospital, and that is the reality of it.

“I am sorry to see, though it is quite rare in this court, the wasted life of another young person. I am sure the family appreciate that to a far greater level than I.”

At the time of his death, the family released a statement paying tribute to the loss of the adored son.

The statement said: “We are devastated to announce that one of our two treasured sons has passed away, Toby Fairclough was a cherished, sporty, ebullient child who we both loved dearly.

“At some point in time we understand that he suffered a cardiac arrest but, despite the efforts of his friends, the ambulance service and Stoke Mandeville Hospital, he was pronounced dead.

Toby has left a huge hole in all our lives. He was brilliant. Sometimes sporty, sometimes disinterested. Sometimes sociable, sometimes quiet. Sometimes the life and soul of the party, sometimes shy. Sometimes a precocious teenager but mostly a great young adult who lit up the life of those who met him. He also was a caring and loving big brother to Xavier.

“It is clear that he touched many people through his all to brief life.”

Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), nicknamed Mandy, Molly or ecstasy, is a stimulant drug that increases serotonin levels in the brain and induces a feeling of euphoria in the user.