Parents’ warning after Yorkshire teen’s death from suspected ecstasy overdose

Joseph Preston. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Joseph Preston. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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The father of a teenager who died from a suspected ecstasy overdose says he hopes the tragedy will serve as a warning to his friends.

Carpentry student Joe Preston, 17, had been at a dance music event in Leeds on Saturday night with friends for an 18th birthday before going back to a friend’s house, where he collapsed.

Police believe his condition deteriorated after consuming alcohol and ecstasy during the evening at Canal Mills, a creative arts venue in Armley.

Joe’s parents and brothers said the Craven College student was a quiet, shy boy who was passionate about pursuing a career as a joiner but paid the ultimate price for taking drugs.

Speaking from their home in Ilkley, his family called for more detailed drugs information to be freely available.

His father Ed, a design engineer, said: “It’s not about just getting the message across to kids but also about getting the message across to parents.

“As parents we are all concerned. The message is that parents need to set up some early warning network for anything new they hear about.

“It’s all well setting up these education programmes for kids like ‘just say no’, but saying no to a 16 or 17-year-old is like a red rag to a bull.

“They need to be informed what these drugs are, what the different strengths are and what is coming in.

“Joe had his whole life ahead of him and was lucky in that he would have had the support to fulfil his ambitions, but all that’s gone now. Joe’s gone now, we can’t bring him back. I just hope it’s a lesson for his friends.”

After becoming concerned about his condition early on Sunday, Joe’s friends called 999 and tried to resuscitate him before an ambulance came and took him to Bradford Royal Infirmary.

Joe’s family got a call from the hospital at about 8.30am on Sunday but he died by the time they got to the hospital around 30 minutes later.

West Yorkshire Police said a post-mortem examination proved to be inconclusive and further tests will now be carried out to establish the cause of death.

Two 18-year-old men, who were arrested on suspicion of supplying controlled drugs, have been released on bail. An inquest into Joe’s death is expected to open later this week.

Joe’s mother Viv, 50, said: “Don’t think it can’t happen to you. We want to hide away from it but we can’t because we have to go on somehow.”

“It’s more important to try and get the message you want out, you can’t bury your head in the sand.”

Joe, a former pupil at Ilkley Grammar School and Ben Rhydding Primary School, was a second year student in carpentry and joinery at Craven College. It was a course he loved and one he hoped would lead to a career.

He lived in the Ben Rhydding area of Ilkley with his parents and his brother Ollie, 19. His other brother James, 21, lives in Manchester.