Heartbroken mother of tragic Leeds United fan welcomes ambulance service action to prevent deaths

THE MOTHER of a tragic Leeds teenager has welcomed changes made by Yorkshire Ambulance Service after a coroner called for action to prevent future deaths.

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 11:03 am
Josh Edwards pictured in St James Hospital.

Leeds United fan Josh Edwards suffered a fatal reaction to ecstasy and cocaine and died in hospital after suffering a fitting episode on a Leeds street on Sunday May 14 2017.

His mother Candace Edwards has also revealed the family are selling their home in Bramley as they are finding it too difficult to continue living with memories of their late son there.

Josh Edwards' inquest in October at Wakefield Coroner’s Court was told ambulance crews took longer than necessary to arrive at the scene on Victoria Park Avenue in Bramley because

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Josh Edwards

they avoided roads closed on the Leeds half-marathon route.

The inquest heard they were allowed to cross road closure’ signs in an emergency, but were unclear as to whether or not they could.

Following the inquest, senior coroner Kevin McLoughlin wrote to emergency services and Leeds City Council calling for a number measures to be introduced at events.

Mr McLoughlin stated in the report to prevent future deaths that an ambulance was called at 12.19pm but did not arrive until 12.44pm.

In a letter to Mr McLoughlin, Andrew Molyneux, head of highways infrastructure at Leeds City Council, said in response that Yorkshire Ambulance Service conducted a review and

implemented a number of changes.

Mr Molyneux said Yorkshire Ambulance Service has put a process in place for managing information on event road closures and who to contact for help and advice if needed.

Mr Molyneux said “dynamically controlled access zones” would be set up for future events that would be maintained independently from other dispatch bays at the emergency operations

centre.

Josh Edwards’ mother Candace Edwards, 47, said: “I couldn’t believe that emergency services didn’t realise that they could go through an events road closure in the first place.

“I find it difficult to understand how the ambulance service was not aware of their own policies and procedures regarding events road closures."

Mrs Edwards said she is satisfied with the action taken, adding: “I would like to thank the coroner for listening to our concerns.”

Josh Edwards arrived at St James’s Hospital by ambulance just after 1.30pm on May 14.

He suffered a heart attack in the hospital’s A&E department, had a series of problems including internal bleeding and multiple organ failure and died just after 9am on May 15.

Dr Simon Flood, a consultant in critical care at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, told the inquest he did not believe Mr Edwards would have survived if he had been brought to hospital

20 or 30 minutes earlier.

A spokesperson for Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “Our thoughts are with Josh’s parents and family following his tragic death in May last year.

“The trust welcomes the recommendations highlighted in the coroner’s report.

“We will continue to work with partner agencies to support the implementation of these recommendations.”

Mrs Edwards said they selling their home in Bramley as they are finding it too difficult to continue living with memories of Josh there.

She said the house in Bramley is up for sale and she and husband Gareth and daughter Kailey, 25, will soon be moving out.

Mrs Edwards, said: “It is really difficult to ever be the same again.

“We don’t look forward to Christmas and we are moving house.

“It is very difficult to live here. Josh’s bedroom has stayed the same, we haven’t touched anything.

“I can’t sleep or settle in this house anymore.

“Some people stay because they want to keep the memories, but I find it hard to live with it.”

Josh Edwards, who worked as a mechanical engineer is believed to have been a first-time drug user.

Following the inquest, his father Gareth released a harrowing image of his son at St James’s Hospital.

Mr Edwards said he hoped the image may help persuade others not to gamble with their lives by taking illicit drugs.

He said he hoped it may just prevent another family going through the same heartache.

Candace Edwards said Josh was family-oriented and hard working and she had not seen any indication that he had experimented with drugs.

In a statement read at the inquest, Gareth Edwards said: “Josh was a dream son and we are immensely proud of him

. “After school he got an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer and was thriving.”

Senior Coroner Kevin McLoughlin recorded a verdict of drug-related death and said it was a “monumental tragedy.”