A ‘caring’ 20-year-old student died after taking MDMA and ketamine at the Warehouse Project, an inquest heard.
James Diss suffered an extreme reaction to the drugs while attending an event in the early hours of September 25. He was rushed to Manchester Royal Infirmary but sadly died a short time later.
An inquest into his death was held by senior coroner Nigel Meadows at Manchester Coroner’s Court on Monday (April 11). It heard how Mr Diss had traveled to Manchester on a coach from Bristol and met with friends ahead of the Metropolis drum and bass and jungle night, headlined by DJs Andy C, Friction and Sub Focus.
Mr Diss had recently moved to Bristol from his home in Newmarket in Suffolk to study at a music school. He was due to start his new course just two days before his death.
The court heard how a friend had purchased blue ‘Louis Vuitton’ pills from Suffolk and brought them to Manchester to distribute around the group.
READMORE: Man in his 20s dies after falling ill at Warehouse Project
Upon taking the pills, Mr Diss immediately became unwell and began removing his clothes on the dancefloor. He was then found slumped against a wall in the corner of the club.
Paramedics at the Mayfield Depot Venue began treating him but rushed him to hospital as his condition worsened. Mr Diss was only at hospital for a short amount of time before he was pronounced dead.
The court heard how his friends were detained in a security lodge at the venue and spoken to by police. Four were arrested for drug possession with intent to supply.
Two friends were not found to be in possession of any drugs but admitted to taking some. They were also taken to hospital for checks. Currently, two young men are still under investigation by police.
Toxicologist Julie Evans, who carried out the toxicology report, found a 5.9 MDMA concentration in Mr Diss’s system. Traces of ketamine and alcohol were also present. She found no evidence of natural diseases or undiagnosed conditions.
Giving evidence at the inquest, Mr Diss’ parents said: “James was brought up in Newmarket and never lived anywhere else. He was a normal little boy; he was a good student and did well.
“He went on to become an apprentice accountant. He completed his apprenticeship and decided that because he had a strong interest in music, he would apply to the British Institute of Modern Music in Bristol.
“He moved to Bristol in September and was due to start his court on March 27. He was a DJ and producer and was hoping to build a following in Bristol.
“He had no issues with alcohol and we were aware he had tried cannabis socially in the past but we were not aware he was taking harder drugs. He was a caring son and brother and he was close to all his family members of him. After going to Bristol, he called his family every day to let his parents know what was going on.
“I left Bristol to meet up with friends at the Warehouse Project. He called his parents from him at around 11pm after he arrived in Manchester on a coach. Everything was fine; he was looking forward to the evening. He was very excited and happy to be starting his course in Bristol and was in a very good mood in the days leading up to his death. ”
Mr Diss’s death was ruled as drug related. Before concluding the inquest, senior coroner Nigel Meadows said: “He was clearly an intelligent young man with lots of plans for the future and had achievements already.
“I have wished to pursue those interested in more of a career. He was due to start at the BIMM in Bristol on September 27. It seems then having agreed with friends he would go to the Warehouse Project for an event that would go on for most of the night and into the early hours of the following morning.
“He met up with a number of friends from his local area and I accept to find that at least ketamine and ecstasy had been purchased by one or more of them.
“When he went to Warehouse Project, he consumed one of more of these tablets. He had, it seems, a very significant and rapid reaction to these drugs – sufficient enough for him to display very bizarre behaviour.
“When we’re 20 years of age we often think we’re bulletproof and nothing will happen to us. The impetuosity of youth is something we should not disregard.
“We were all 20 at some point and I’m sure we got up to things our parents would not approve of. This is probably every parent’s worst nightmare – James being off to Bristol for what was going to be the next stage of a very happy life.
“The next thing you know you’re getting phone calls. There can be nothing worse. What this demonstrates, yet again, is that there really, there is no such thing as recreational drug taking.
“It’s simply playing Russian roulette with your life. It’s perhaps a strange coincidence that James was the only one fatally affected. It really is a very tragic loss.”
Sign up to the MEN email newsletters to get the latest on sport, news, what’s on and more by following this link