Duo played ‘Russian roulette’ with their lives

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THE assistant coroner leading the inquest of two Wigan men who took contaminated ecstasy pills has warned of the dangers of taking illicit drugs.

Leading the hearing at Bolton Coroners’ Court, Kevin McLoughlin said that people should “strive to learn lessons from the tragedy” of Jordan Chambers and Gareth Evans, who died earlier this year after taking what they thought were ordinary ecstacy tablets.

He said: “These two men had no way of knowing the quality of the drugs or what was in them. They were effectively playing Russian Roulette.

“They paid the high price in trusting the drug dealer who did not care less about anything other than making money.”

The inquest heard that on the evening of Friday, January 18, Jordan, 19, was saying with friends and had gone out to buy some ecstacy pills.

He returned an hour later and he and his friend, Scott Heaton, had each taken four bright-coloured, heart-shape tablets.

They were both displaying “disturbing behaviour,” throwing themselves at walls.

Jordan had complained of feeling unwell and in the early hours of Saturday, Jordan passed out.

Unable to revive him, his friends called an ambulance.

He was rushed to Wigan Infirmary and was transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital.

He died the following day.

Speaking about Gareth’s death, his girlfriend of two years, Catherine Fulton, said that on the evening of Sunday, January 20, he appeared agitated.

As Gareth, who is also known as Gaz Ashton, was known to use cocaine, Catherine suspected he had taken the drug, but he denied it.

As they went to bed, he was restless and in the early hours of the morning, he spoke to a friend - Scott Livesey - on the phone about Jordan being rushed to hospital after taking ecstacy pills.

Jordan and Gareth had lived on the same street when they were younger and ocassionally saw each other when out in pubs.

Gareth then went for a drive and after being stopped by the police for hitting a kerb, he was breathalysed and deemed fit to go.

He returned back to his home and he complained of being too hot and went outside to cover himself with snow.

Catherine called an ambulance and he suffered two cardiac arrests. He died on Monday morning.

Dr Naomi Carter, forensic pathologist, said that the cause of death for both men was toxicity of para-methoxyamphetamine - known as PMA - amphetamines and cocaine.

She added that in both cases, it was likely that cocaine had been taken separately and was not part of the so-called ecstacy pill.

Det Insp Martin Reddington, who led the investigation in Wigan, said that officers spoke to around 40 people as part of the investigation into who supplied the drugs.

He said: “No-one could provide evidence of where the drugs came from and that has caused a stumbling block in our investigation.

“But we do know they both took the tablets voluntarily. We presume they are from the same batch because of the close proximity of date and location.

“It is clear there has been a significant risk nationally, due to the high numbers of deaths. People know the consequences, but are still taking them.”