Tribute to ‘brilliant’ teenager who died after ‘digesting substance’

Police have warned about the dangers of illegal drugs following the death of a 17-year-old boy who believed he was taking MDMA.
Toby FaircloughToby Fairclough
Toby Fairclough

Toby Fairclough suffered a medical condition in playing fields in North Marston at 12.35am on Saturday and was later pronounced dead at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Police have launched an ‘unexplained death’ investigation. Toby’s family said he wasa ‘great young adult’ whose death has ‘left a huge hole in all our lives’.

Investigating officer, Det Insp Brendan Murray said: “Late on Friday night or in the early hours of Saturday morning, we believe that Toby digested a substance which he believed to be the illegal drug MDMA.

“We will not speculate on what this substance was or what caused his death. A post-mortem examination is scheduled to be carried out next week, which will include toxicology and histology tests. It is likely to be several weeks before the results of these tests are known.

“I would strongly urge young people not to take or experiment with illegal drugs such as MDMA. They are extremely dangerous and often contain poisons and illicit chemicals which can prove fatal.

Det Insp Murray added: “Our thoughts are with his family and loved-ones at this extremely difficult time.”

A statement released on behalf of Toby’s family said: “We are devastated to announce that one of our two treasured sons has passed away. Toby Fairclough was a cherished, sporty, ebullient child who we both loved dearly.

“At some point in time we understand that he suffered a cardiac arrest but, despite the efforts of his friends, the ambulance service and Stoke Mandeville hospital he was pronounced dead in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“Toby has left a huge hole in all of our lives. He was brilliant. Sometimes sporty, sometimes disinterested. Sometimes sociable, sometimes quiet. Sometimes the life and soul of the party, sometimes shy. Sometimes a precocious teenager but mostly a great young adult who lit up the life of those who met him. He also was a caring a loving big brother to Xavier.

“This is a sad time and we would appreciate space to grieve as an extended family. We have all greatly appreciated the outpourings of love that we have received from everyone who knew Toby. It’s clear that he touched many people through his all too brief life.”

A 17-year-old boy from Buckingham has been arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug. He has been released on police bail until 29 June.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to come forward. Call 101 or alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

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