Student dies in York home after suspected drug overdose

Police outside Matthews' house in Tang Hall where he collapsed. Photo credit: York Press

Police outside Matthews' house in Tang Hall where he collapsed. Photo credit: York Press

James Alexander Ednie Matthews, a 23-year-old University of York student, was found dead in his home on Wednesday afternoon, after a suspected drug overdose.

Police and paramedics were called to his home on Seventh Avenue, in the Tang Hall area, at around 1:25 pm after he reportedly collapsed. He was taken to York Hospital, though after several resuscitation attempts was subsequently pronounced dead at 2:01pm.

A University of York spokesman said: “We are greatly saddened by the tragic death of James Matthews. He was a third-year student in the School of Politics, Economics and Philosophy and a member of Halifax College.

“We extend our sympathies to his family at this extremely distressing time. The university is offering support to his friends here.”

Two men, a 28-year-old and a 36-year-old, have been arrested in connection with his death, on the suspicion of supplying the drugs, and have been released on bail pending further enquiries. An inquest is also to be carried out in the upcoming weeks.

Staff and students have expressed their sadness at the news, with his supervisor, Professor Neil Carter, describing Matthews as “a very likeable young man” who “made great efforts to get to university and was determined to succeed in his studies”.

A fellow third-year PPE student commented: “James will be badly missed, his presence in either a club or a seminar room was always something special and whilst he had mixed relationships with both of them, he was an absolutely top guy.

“He was one of the first PPE students I met after coming to York and I immediately liked him for his unique ‘cockney’ accent, dress sense and swagger. He was a brilliant person through and through and I, like many, am devastated to hear of his death.”

Tim Ngwena, YUSU President, also expressed his condolences: “James’ death will be felt by the student community and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

“If you knew James and wish to talk to someone, contact your supervisor, or alternatively email the Open Door Team at [email protected] or pop in to see them on campus next to the careers service.”

The student’s family have been informed of his death.