Student collapsed in a nightclub and died after taking fatal dose of MDMA and ketamine inquest hears


The girlfriend of a ‘smart and sensible’ human biology student told how his face ‘froze’ before he collapsed in a nightclub and died after taking drugs, an inquest has heard.

Ryan Winkler took a ‘fatal dose’ of MDMA and ketamine with girlfriend Rebecca Law.

The pair took the illicit substances at their home, in an alleyway, and while out, a coroner was told.

But the Loughborough University undergraduate reacted badly and Miss Law was forced to seek help when his face ‘froze’ as they partied in a nightclub.

A medic treated Mr Winkler and he was taken to the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

However, he was pronounced dead after arrival in the early hours of June 21 last year.

‘Smart and sensible’ Loughborough University student Ryan Winkler took a ‘fatal dose’ of MDMA and ketamine on June 21 last year, an inquest in Loughborough found

After his death, the 21-year-old’s heartbroken family begged others not to take ‘so-called recreational drugs’ as ‘the risks are evidently high’.

His father, Trevor Winkler, told the inquest his son’s drug-taking came as a ‘shock’.

Giving evidence at Loughborough Coroner’s Court, he added: ‘When he lived at home, he didn’t go out partying. He didn’t come home drunk. He was very smart and very sensible.

‘It just seems they liked that music and (taking drugs) was a part of that scene.’

Miss Law told the hearing the drugs they consumed during the night out – the horse tranquilliser ketamine and two doses of MDMA – was a ‘small amount compared to what they had done before’.

But after they arrived at Echoes nightclub in Loughborough, Miss Law noticed a change in her boyfriend at 2.11am.

She said the club was ‘really, really hot and packed’, adding: ‘Ryan wasn’t smiling. His face was frozen.

Ryan was with his girlfriend Rebecca Law. The pair took the drugs at their home, in an alleyway, and while out, a coroner was told. She saw his face 'froze' and he went 'stiff' shortly before he collapsed

Ryan was with his girlfriend Rebecca Law. The pair took the drugs at their home, in an alleyway, and while out, a coroner was told. She saw his face ‘froze’ and he went ‘stiff’ shortly before he collapsed

‘I was trying to talk to him but I was not getting much out of him.’

Mr Winkler was treated in a first aid room by medic Nash Gooderham.

He described Mr Winkler as semi-conscious, very sweaty, and ‘very stiff’.

Mr Gooderham said he ‘did everything’ but claimed if event organisers DBE had provided a radio he could have responded quicker.

Mr Winkler, a second year student of Folkestone, Kent, was taken to hospital but pronounced dead shortly after 3:30am.

A pathologist confirmed he died as a result of multiple drug toxicity.

Assistant coroner Tanyka Rawdon concluded the combined effects of the drugs led to a cardiac arrest and subsequent death.

Ms Rawden said she was ‘extremely concerned’ Mr Gooderham was left without access to a radio and added she would write to DBE, according to the BBC.

She added: ‘Whilst I don’t think it would have changed things for Ryan, it could change something for someone in the future.’

After Mr Winkler’s death, his family said via the university: ‘This was a tragic accident at a time of celebration. We urge anyone not to take so-called recreational drugs as the risks are evidently high.’

Miss Law subsequently set up a JustGiving website in his memory to raise money for St John’s Ambulance. 

Miss Law subsequently set up a JustGiving website in his memory to raise money for St John's Ambulance

Miss Law subsequently set up a JustGiving website in his memory to raise money for St John’s Ambulance 

In its description, she wrote: ‘Ryan Winkler died age 21 in a nightclub surrounded by people who didn’t know how to help him.

‘This page was created in his memory to raise funds for St John’s Ambulance who provide first aid and life-saving courses.’

Miss Law remembered him in a touching post, asking Ryan to ‘watch over her’. 

She wrote: ‘Not all the photos or words in the world could represent how close we were, couldn’t even brush my teeth without having you hugging me from behind and kissing my back, every second of every night you held me close to your body and now there’s this big empty bed and my eyes won’t close unless to cry.

‘I miss you and everyone has been sending their love for you because you are the most amazing person I have ever met and have clearly touched the lives of so many around you.

‘Please watch over me, I can’t do this without you.’ 

Tributes also poured in for Mr Winkler, who worked in a branch of McDonald’s before starting at Loughborough University.

Luke Mackenzie wrote: ‘I’m in utter shock and can not believe it, but what a lovely person to have known and have the pleasure to work with over the last few years.

‘Or all the conversations we had about uni and science, you were an amazing guy and thank you for bringing such positivity to everyone around you!

‘Sending love to all your family and loved ones, Rest in peace Ryan Winkler, you’ll be missed.’

Shannon Nightingale said: ‘You are one of the kindest people I’ve ever met and were obviously too good for this world.’

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