Wigan dad reveals grief after son dies on stag party

A Wigan father has spoken of the moment he found out his son had died, as he warned revellers to be careful when going abroad for stag parties.

Monday, 4th June 2018, 11:31 am
Updated Monday, 4th June 2018, 11:32 am

Norman Rhoden’s son Luke was just 25 when he died in Ibiza in September 2014 while celebrating his best friend’s upcoming nuptials.

Mr Rhoden was woken up by police officers in the early hours of the morning to be told his son had died of a cardiac arrest after falling from a balcony in Ibiza.

But it was not long before videos surfaced online showing police officers grappling with Luke, a former Wigan Warriors academy player, in the street moments before his death.

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An inquest found Luke died from asphyxia and an adverse reaction to drugs while being restrained by the police on the Spanish island.

Mr Rhoden took part in a radio show yesterday to warn people about the dangers they can face while celebrating abroad.

Mr Rhoden said the police knocked on his door at around 2.30am and he knew what they were going to tell him.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, he said: “You watch so many TV programmes and when they came in and said to me, ‘Can you just sit down?’, I kind of knew automatically, I knew.”

Luke Rhoden with his dad Norman

He struggled to explain how he felt, continuing: “It was like a complete numbness that just comes over you, you know, and you space for a bit and then in the next second you are breaking down and you are in tears.

“I remember just screaming out and crying because I knew. It was heartbreaking, let’s put it that way.”

Mr Rhoden shared his son’s story to urge people to be careful while enjoying stag parties abroad.

Luke arrived in Ibiza on September 1, 2014, to celebrate the upcoming wedding of his friend Mike Rutter.

The group spent September 2 at a bar and later Luke started acting erratically and told his friends someone was chasing him.

He went to bed, but a short time later he fell from a canopy in the pool area of the hotel.

He hurt his feet but was able to go to the hotel lobby.

Security staff tried to catch him and called police, who chased him out onto the street.

Two officers and two other men struggled to restrain Luke but eventually managed to handcuff and restrain his legs. Luke lost consciousness just before an ambulance arrived. They attempted to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

It was only later that Mr Rhoden and Luke’s friends were made aware of videos of Luke being restrained by the police officers on the internet.

A full inquest was finally heard in Bolton in October 2016.

The jury concluded that excessive force used by police contributed to Luke’s death.