Craven College student Joe Preston dies after taking ecstasy

Joe Preston

Joe Preston

First published in News

The principal of Craven College has spoken of his sadness after one of its students died from a suspected ecstasy overdose at the weekend.

Seventeen-year-old Joe Preston, who “had his whole life to live for”, seemingly paid the ultimate price for trying drugs.

He had just returned from celebrating an 18th birthday when he collapsed at a friend’s house in Shipley in the early hours of Sunday.

Robert Bellfield, principal at Craven College, said the teenager’s death was tragic.

“Joe was a very dedicated student and was on track for a successful career in carpentry and joinery. He was well liked and will be greatly missed by his fellow students.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe’s family and friends at this distressing time.”

Fellow students were being offered counselling, he added.

Joe’s father, Ed Preston, said drugs did not discriminate and his son’s death showed that such a tragedy could happen to anyone.

“Joe had his whole life ahead of him, but all that’s gone now,” said Mr Preston. “I just hope it’s a lesson for his friends.”

Mr Preston, 54, said his youngest son was not a habitual drug user, but he had tried them on a few occasions.

“Lots of kids do it and he was just unlucky. He made a mistake and he’s paid for it,” he added.

His mother, Viv, said stories about teenagers dying after taking drugs could easily wash over people.

“If people can just stop and try to imagine what we’re going through now – a kid won’t want their parents to go through what we’re going through.

“The message is simple, just think.”

Joe was a second year student in carpentry and joinery. It was a course he loved and one he hoped would lead to a career.

Mrs Preston, 50, said: “He was doing really well. It was all coming together. He seemed happy.”

His father, a design engineer, said Joe was enthusiastic about joinery.

“The last 18 months or so since he finished school, he’d just started to grow up and make plans,” said Mr Preston.

Joe enjoyed listening to music and would often surprise his mother by singing 80s songs, out of tune, in the kitchen.

“I’d say ‘where’ve you got that from’ and he’d say he’d just heard it. He was tone deaf, he couldn’t sing for toffee! I never knew where that saying came from, until I heard Joe,” Mrs Preston said.

Joe lived in Ben Rhydding, Ilkley, with his parents and brothers Ollie, 19 and James, 21.

Police said a post-mortem examination had proved to be inconclusive and further tests would be carried out to establish the cause of death.

Two 18-year-old men, who were arrested on suspicion of supplying controlled drugs, have been released on bail. An inquest is expected to open this week.

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