The mother of a teenage boy who plunged 40 feet to his death after taking ecstasy issued a warning today about youngsters ‘bowing to peer pressure’ when experimenting with drugs.
Joanne Kelly’s son Kyle Winterbottom, 16, lost his footing and fell to the ground as he clambered onto a third floor balcony rail in Oldham in a bid to climb down to the floor below during a party.
The youngster – a talented rugby player, boxer, and swimmer – was taken to hospital but died later from multiple injuries. Tests revealed he had traces in his system of ecstasy and ketamine, a powerful drug used as an anaesthetic by vets to sedate horses.
Witnesses described seeing Kyle with ‘wide eyes’ and a ‘slack jaw’ in the run up to his death at a block of Oldham flats.
TRAGIC: Kyle Winterbottom fell to his death from a balcony
Today police were hunting Sean Dockerty, 20, who lives at the flat where the incident unfolded after he failed to attend an inquest into Kyle’s death. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Officers investigated claims Kyle’s drink may have been spiked with drugs after his parents said he did not abuse them – but found no evidence of third party involvement.
Outside the hearing in Heywood, Miss Kelly, 41, a cafe owner said: ”Kyle’s death has been devastating for the family and I don’t want any other youngster to end up like him.
”I would say don’t feel under pressure from your peers to take things when you don’t know what you are taking. My Kyle wasn’t always taking drugs – he wasn’t like that – and now he’s dead.
”Life is just not the same anymore. It never will be. I can’t get my head around the thought that he’s not here.
”He was just 16 – he would still give me a kiss when he was going out. It’s heartbreaking. I will never get over it. I can never see past tomorrow at the moment.”
The accident occurred in August 2012 after Kyle met up with friends at a house for drinks before going to a party in flats over two floors of the building.
Witness David Major said he was at a party on the first floor of the block of flats at Heywood House, while Kyle was at the party on the third floor.
In a statement Major said: ”Six or seven people came down from the party and started talking to us and asking for cigarettes. They were all drunk and had been using drugs. They were putting it into drinks and rubbing it on their gums.
”The group of lads had been talking to us for ten minutes when I heard shouting become loud an saw a male fall from the top while it looked like he was trying to swing to the other balcony. He fell straight down.
”One of the lads then punched me to the side of the jaw. They then ran off to the stairwell and I phoned an ambulance for the male I had seen.
”Once the ambulance had gone I left the flats away to Oldham. As we reached a road I saw another group of lads. Because of the time and their age I knew they must have been at Heywood House. I asked if the lad was OK and they said he was fine.
”I asked, ‘why would he jump?’ and one was waving a snap bag and he said, ‘he is on this, we are all wired’.”
The inquest heard that at an earlier party nearby attended by boys and girls as young as 15 an older group were dishing out the party drug MDMA for free around a picnic table in the back garden.
A boy, now 17, who can’t be named for legal reasons, denied spiking Kyle’s drink but said that everybody around the table was ‘more than likely doing drugs’.
He added: ”I didn’t see Kyle take any. But his eyes were wide and his jaw was grinding. He was gurning. He was clenching his teeth. I had seen people in worse states than he was in.
”I heard there was a party in Chadderton and everyone was going to go there but I stuck to my party. On the Sunday evening I went on Facebook and I saw ‘RIP Kyle’.
”I had a look at who it was. It was then that I recognised him as the same person who I had met at the party. There were already messages and rumours suggesting I had spiked him.
”One of the rumours was that I put two full bags in his drink but that’s £60 worth and I couldn’t afford that.”
During police inquiries, officers visiting 56 addresses during more than a year of investigation but concluded there was no third party involvement in Kyle’s death.
Coroner Simon Nelson adjourned the hearing for Dockerty to be arrested and presented at the inquest. Kyle’s uncle Allan Winterbottom, 40, pleaded with Dockerty to explain what happened that evening.
”Just come forward and tell the truth,” he said. ”You’re supposed to be his friend. Just tell us what happened. Kyle was a top lad. A loveable character. He had a lot of friends and would do anything for anyone. He was a very talented sportsman and lived life to the full.”
Kyle’s father, James Winterbottom, 42, added: ”Something needs to be done. You hear too many of these horror stories. Kyle didn’t even like cigarettes. I don’t know how this could have happened.”
Kyle the third youngest of eight children to parents Joanne and Jimmy was set to received good GCSE grades from Hathershaw College in Oldham.
He took part in a triathlon event in Liverpool and played rugby for the youth team at Oldham St Annes Rugby Club.