Family’s drugs plea after teenager dies of ecstasy overdose at Leeds Festival


A GRIEVING family say they hope young people will learn from their “suffering” after an inquest heard how a teenager died from a drugs overdose at a music festival.

Former school prefect James Houghton, who was just about to start university, died of an ecstasy overdose at the Leeds Festival, the hearing was told.

James was a healthy 19-year-old with a “fabulous mind,” an inquest in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, was told.

Mr Houghton, from the Fens area of Hartlepool, had travelled to the Leeds Festival with a group of friends in August 2013, shortly after being told he had won a place at Manchester University to study history.

The inquest heard Mr Houghton was seen to be stumbling while waiting to watch rapper Eminem at the festival at Bramham Park, Wetherby, on Sunday, August 25.

He left the crowd and suffered a seizure near a burger van.

Mr Houghton was taken by ambulance to the festival site’s medical centre, where he went into cardiac arrest.

Attempts were made to revive Mr Houghton, but he was pronounced dead at 11.30pm that night.

His friends told security staff that he had taken three ecstasy tablets.

A statement released by James’ loving family after the inquest said: “We are a very close family who are absolutely devastated by the loss of our beloved son and brother.

“James was loyal and compassionate and our pain is immeasurable.

“We can only hope that other young people and their parents will learn from our suffering and become educated about the many forms of drugs which are stealing the lives of our precious children.”

Dr Lisa Barker, a consultant histopathologist at St James’s Hospital, Leeds, said results of toxicology reports showed the teenager had taken a fatal level of ecstasy.

Dr Barker said there were also traces of amphetamine and cocaine in his system.

She said high levels of ecstasy can cause convulsions and cardiac arrhythmia, where the heart beats abnormally.

Recording a verdict that his death was drug related, West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff, said: “There is no doubt at all that he either had drugs with him, or will have acquired some whilst he was there and he had been known to be consuming recreational drugs over the course of that weekend.”

His mother Paula said in a statement to police: “He had a fabulous mind and cared passionately about his friends and family.”