Fatal mistake of the teenager who wanted a thrill

Death on the dancefloor: Daniel Ashton was the 51st person to be killed by a drug that is a fixture on the rave scene



It had been a normal evening at the Palace nightclub in Blackpool. About 600 clubbers were dancing the night away. Among those enjoying the club's "Red Hot" evening were Daniel Ashton, 17, his girlfriend Vanessa Watson and Andrew Aspden.

Some of those dancing frenetically in the heat and lights were undoubtedly on an artificial high. As in every dance club in the country, the rave drug ecstasy, and a host of other stimulants, were almost certainly available. With "Es" you can feel good and dance without a break for hour after hour.

Daniel's mother, Heather, was sure her sports-loving son was not involved in anything illegal. "He hated everything about drugs. He used to call drug addicts and pushers 'the scum of the earth'," she said. Daniel's sister-in-law, Michelle Wainwright, added: "He was a bright, breezy boy with lots of friends who looked up to him. He had never taken drugs to anyone's knowledge. He was a bright lad." He rarely went to nightclubs and have was only at the Palace for a special party, said the family.

Yet by 11.30 that night, Daniel was lying unconscious on the pavement outside the club, his girlfriend and an ambulance crew by his side. Minutes later Vanessa, 16, collapsed. Andrew, 16, also needed medical treatment.

Eleven hours later, Daniel was dead. His girlfriend was in a stable condition last night, while his friend is "poorly but stable". Police believe Daniel took ecstasy and probably amphetamines, also known as "speed", as well. Officers were last night awaiting the results of a post mortem examination of Daniel and the outcome of tests on ecstasy tablets believed to be similar to the ones taken by the three friends.

If the results are positive, Daniel will be one of the hundreds of thousands of young people who every weekend take ecstasy. He could also prove to be the 51st person officially recorded has having died from the side effects of the drug since 1990.

Regular ravers at the Palace yesterday said that ecstasy had become an essential ingredient in the Blackpool club scene, but that it was by no means an epidemic.

Daniel being given the drug would not have been an unusual sight to club- goers at the Palace. It is a transaction conducted in a corner of the five bars or two dance floors, and out of sight of club staff. A local student said: "The Palace is by no means the worst. Those that really want to get heavily into drugs are more likely to go to Manchester or Liverpool."

The Palace is a modern discotheque near Blackpool Tower. The club boasts three lighting rigs and a diner, but its reputation for drug deals is not as bad as many similar clubs across the country.

In February, Darren Mulholland, 23, from Cumbria, died in the Venue club in Blackpool. He had taken cannabis and Benzodiazepines, as well as ecstasy before dancing continuously in the hot and crowded club. All his major organs failed. The club has since closed.

Detectives yesterday said the Palace could not be classed as a comparably busy site for dealers.

"Ecstasy is now part and parcel of the club scene throughout Lancashire," one detective said. "Blackpool naturally has problems with visitors, especially at this time of the year with day and weekend visitors to the illuminations.

"It is a serious problem, but this is not anything on the scale of, say, Manchester two years ago."

Blackpool club owners yesterday said it was impossible to keep drugs off their premises. Said one: "Warders cannot keep drugs out of prisons, so how can we be expected to?"

Brian Booth, owner of Jokers club, said: "At one time we were known as a promiscuous town. Now we are a drugs town."

The Palace was closed last night as First Leisure Corporation, its owners, expressed "deepest sympathy" for Daniel's family.

The company's director of operations, Michael Payne, has strict policies to prevent drugs or "undesirable" people entering the club.

Lancashire drug squad officers were last night still searching the club. Detective Superintendent Bob Denmark, who is heading the inquiry, said that anyone who had taken illegal substances at the club on Thursday night should seek medical advice.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Life and Style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Technical Project Manager - Software and Infrastructure - Government Experience

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Central Lon...

Head of Technology

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Head of Technology needed for a Outsta...

Maths teachers needed in Cromer

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...

Head of Business Studies

Negotiable: Randstad Education Reading: Head of Business Studies needed for a ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits