Thursday 18 January 2018

Student smuggled drugs into nightclub before suffering cardiac arrest - inquest

Fabric nightclub in London, Photo: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire
Fabric nightclub in London, Photo: David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

Sally Wardle

An 18-year-old student who died after attending an event at popular London nightclub Fabric smuggled drugs into the venue in his boxers before buying more inside, an inquest has heard.

Jack Crossley, from Worcester Park, Surrey, died on the morning of August 6 after becoming unwell at the club, in Farringdon, central London.

He had brought MDMA into the venue with two friends but later purchased more after being approached by a stranger, Poplar Coroner's Court in east London was told.

Mr Crossley, a trainee electrician, received medical attention after trying to leave the venue - propped up by two friends - at around 5.30am.

His temperature was recorded as high as 42.2C as he received treatment and his heart rate was measured at 190 beats per minute, paramedic Caroline Smith, who was working at the venue, said in a statement.

A heart rate of 60 to 90 beats per minute is expected in a healthy individual, she added.

Mr Crossley was taken to the Royal London Hospital where he died at 8.58am after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Senior Coroner Mary Hassell said the death was caused by MDMA toxicity.

She added: "I make a determination that the death was drug-related."

Mr Crossley arrived at the club with friends Joe Ryan and Josh Green between 11pm and 11.30pm on Friday August 5.

He had visited Fabric twice before and had taken drugs on both occasions, the inquest heard.

One visit was in June on the same night that 18-year-old Ryan Browne was taken to hospital after taking ecstasy at the club. He later died.

Mr Green said staff had carried out a "brief search" of the trio but they managed to smuggle in three-quarters of a gram of MDMA, which they had bought ahead of the event, in their boxers.

He added that staff had "squeezed" his ankles, he assumed to search for weapons.

Mr Ryan said: "I do not remember it being at the ankles. I remember it being a pat.

"I actually said to one of them 'Do you want me to empty my pockets?' and he said no. It was a bit weird."

The group took the drugs while inside but Mr Crossley and Mr Ryan later had more, which they bought from someone in the club.

Mr Ryan said Mr Crossley had not appeared unwell - apart from looking "red in the face" when he was in the smoking area.

Staff were alerted to Mr Crossley's condition when the group left the club.

In the medical area, Ms Smith said he was "pale and sweating profusely", his "teeth were chattering" and he lashed out at staff as he experienced "confusion and paranoia".

As she gave her verdict, Ms Hassell said: "A youngster like Jack, who has taken MDMA twice before, has gone to a club and has done what it seemed like other people are doing and it's no more than that.

"It's no more than doing what so many youngsters will do and they won't have any consequences."

Mr Crossley's inquest comes days before Fabric's reopening event this weekend.

The nightclub had its licence revoked in September and was forced to close after Islington Council found it had a "culture of drug use" which staff were "incapable of controlling".

But the venue reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Police and the council in November over new licence conditions such as a raised entry age and tougher security measures.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Luke Laws, general manager at Fabric, said the club had made changes to its security processes and updated its CCTV ahead of the relaunch.

He urged further education on drugs to prevent any more tragedies and stressed that the problem was wider than one club.

"I cannot express how horrific it is to witness that sort of thing," he said.

"We run a disco ultimately. It's there for enjoyment and it's there to have fun."

Press Association

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