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17th February 2014

Man dies of suspected overdose at Academy indoor festival

It is believed the man took a quantity of MDMA inside Academy 2

A man has died after a suspected drug overdose at an event held at the Students’ Union last weekend.

The 30-year-old was admitted to the Manchester Royal Infirmary after it is believed he took a quantity of MDMA at the IllumiNaughty festival last Saturday.

His death is reportedly the first death to occur due to drug-taking at an event on Students’ Union property.

The IllumiNaughty festival takes place across the Academy 2, Academy 3, Club Academy and Union bar venues, just as Pangaea does. The Mancunion has learned that the man was in Academy 2 when he began to feel unwell.

Unlike Pangaea, however, there was no increased police presence at the event – and no drug-detecting sniffer dogs on the door.

An IllumiNaughty spokesperson told The Mancunion, “We are devastated by the tragedy that followed our event last weekend.

“Our thoughts and sincere condolences go out to his friends and family at this difficult time”.

IllumiNaughty is an external club night that runs an indoor festival three times a year in the Students’ Union Academy venues, bringing in an estimated £40-50,000 in revenue to the Union. The theme of last weekend’s event was “The Masked Ball”, and tickets ranged from £12.50 to £17.

Students’ Union General Secretary Grace Skelton said, “IllumiNaughty is a public club night, organised and presented by external promoters and has been held at The Academy since February 2013.

“We are supporting the police appeal for witnesses.”

A postmortem examination into the man’s cause of death was inconclusive, and police are awaiting results of a toxicology report.

An investigation has also been launched in an attempt to establish what happened in the moments leading up to him feeling unwell, and as to the origins of the drugs.

Greater Manchester Police Detective Inspector Ian Cottrell said, “Sadly this man has died after becoming unwell during a night out at The Academy and I want to reassure his friends and family as well as the wider community that we have launched an investigation to establish exactly what happened.

“While we are keeping an open mind we suspect that drugs are a factor in this man’s death.

“Were you in the venue on Saturday night and did you see anything untoward or suspicious? Did you see anyone selling drugs inside the venue or someone collapse inside? If so, please call us.

“I would also like to take the opportunity to remind people of the potential consequences of taking illicit drugs. You can never know exactly what you are taking or what reaction you will have and as this incident so tragically highlights, the consequences can be dire, not only for the person taking them but also for their family and friends.”

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