Teenager arrested after ecstasy death

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The Independent Online

A teenager was being questioned by police yesterday after being arrested in connection with a batch of contaminated ecstasy tablets that caused the death of one man and left two others critically ill.

The tablets were taken on Saturday at a rave night attended by several hundred people at SE1, a club underneath London Bridge railway station. The dead man, Bret Karl Gilkes, 20, from Birmingham, was found unconscious outside the club early on Sunday. He was taken to St Thomas'hospital and died soon afterwards.

Two other men suffering from convulsions were also found near by and taken to hospital. They remained in a critical condition yesterday.

Scotland Yard said the suspect was being held in custody after tests on the victim confirmed that the drug responsible for his death was ecstasy.

Detectives said the ecstasy tablets in circulation at the nightclub were white and 1cm in diameter, with a five-pronged crown identification on one side and a dot at the end of each prong.

Police appealed for anyone still in possession of ecstasy bought near the club to hand in the drugs for analysis. They promised that no one who did so would be prosecuted and said identifying the contaminant would help doctors to treat the two men in hospital.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Anyone who consumed drugs in the vicinity of the SE1 club is asked to seek immediate medical attention. It is not our intention to prosecute anyone for possession of these controlled drugs. This is to encourage people to speak freely with us to trace the origins of the contaminated batch. Your action may save lives."

* A boy aged 14 was arrested after nine fellow pupils were taken to hospital suffering from the effects of ecstasy. He was suspected of giving the drugs to pupils during lunch break at a school in Greater Manchester. He was released on police bail.