Devastated family ask people to share this photo after teen's tragic drug death

A grief stricken dad hopes this harrowing image of his teenage son may help persuade others not to gamble with their lives by taking illicit drugs.

Tuesday, 2nd October 2018, 9:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, 10:58 am

Gareth Edwards, 48, of Bramley photographed his 19-year-old son Josh at St James’s Hospital with the intention of sharing the picture to raise awareness of the devastating consequences drugs can have.

He hopes it may just prevent another family going through the same heartache.

Mechanical engineer Josh had a fitting episode on a Leeds street after suffering a reaction to ecstasy and cocaine he had taken for what police believe was the first ever time, an inquest at Wakefield Coroner's Court heard.

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Josh Edwards' family have shared this photo after Josh's tragic drug death

Police seized drugs and arrested six other people who had taken drugs at a house in Bramley during the enquiry following Josh’s death in May 2017.

Recording a verdict of drug-related death, senior coroner Kevin McLoughlin said the six were “too cowardly” to fully cooperate with the police enquiry and had put their own interests before Josh’s family.

Mr McLoughlin said Josh’s death was a “monumental tragedy.”

Josh’s mother Candace, 46, told the inquest: “He was up for work at 6am on a morning, he just wasn’t a drugs person.”

Josh Edwards before his tragic death

Speaking about her family’s ordeal after the hearing, Mrs Edwards said: “When I got to the hospital and they told me it was drugs I couldn’t believe it."

She added: “He didn’t deserve that tragic end, it was horrendous.”

Mrs Edwards said Josh was family-oriented and hard working and she had not seen any indication that he had experimented with drugs.

In a statement read to the inquest, Josh’s father Gareth, 48, said: “Josh was a dream son and we are immensely proud of him.

“After school he got an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer and was thriving.”

Police were called to Victoria Park Avenue in Bramley at around 12pm on May 14 2017 after a member of the public spotted Josh having a fitting episode and falling down in the street.

Josh, who worked as a mechanical engineer at Pudsey manufacturing company OMCO, was taken to St James’s Hospital where he suffered a heart attack in the accident and emergency department.

He suffered a string of problems including internal bleeding and multiple organ failure and died just after 9am on May 15, seven days before he should have celebrated his 20th birthday.

Detective sergeant Lisa Watts said police believe the six people arrested “protected themselves” rather than give police a full picture to investigate.

Det Sgt Watts added: “We are of the opinion this is the first time Josh has ever used and it has had the fatal outcome.”

Coroner Mr McLoughlin said: "His body's reaction to the poison involved has cost him his life. It's a monumental tragedy for his family.

Criticising the people who did not fully assist police, Mr McLoughlin said: "They have chosen to put their interests in front of helping a family understand what happened. "It would appear they have been too cowardly to cooperate with the police."

Mr McLoughlin added: "If you take ecstasy or cocaine you must recognise that it may cost you your life."

This story orignally appeared on the Yorkshire Post