Dan was the younger son of Fiona and Tim Spargo-Mabbs. They, along, with Dan's older brother, Jacob, live in Croydon. He was in the lower sixth form of Archbishop Tenison CE High School in Croydon, where he'd attended since Year 7. He was bright, articulate, funny, chatty, popular and talented. He was a big, engaging, much loved character. He’d been voted prom king at the end of year 11. He’d played in the band for the school show just before Christmas in year 12. He’d recently signed up as a bone marrow donor. Dan had a daily paper round, but on top of his round, he used to run free errands for the elderly people to whom he delivered papers. The family are regular members of their church, Emmanuel South Croydon, where Dan was involved with the youth work, and had signed up for their first youth Alpha course, starting in January 2014. He helped out church members with gardening and other odd jobs.
On the evening of Friday 17th January 2014, Dan persuaded his mum to let him go to a party, with a group of friends. As Dan was usually responsible, Fiona agreed that he could go. Dan and his friends went to an illegal rave in Hillingdon instead of the party. It was the first time he'd been to a rave. At the rave Dan took MDMA, along with four of the others. He had no way of knowing that there was a lethal amount of MDMA in the bag he had. The other four were fine, but whichever of them had had that bag would have died. It happened to be Dan.
Dan's body temperature soared to 42 degrees centigrade and above. At this temperature, the body's organs can't cope and they shut down. For a couple of hours his friends couldn't find him, and when they did he was propped up outside the building in the rain with paramedics. Dan was rushed to A&E at 0430 on Saturday 18th January.
At 0530, the police knocked on Fiona and Tim's front door and gave them the shocking news that Dan was unconscious in intensive care and fighting for his life. Because his legs were swelling, he needed an operation to cut them open to relieve the pressure. He was on life support, his body unable to cope with the effects of the drug. During 18th January, Dan was transferred to King's College Hospital Liver Unit, one of the most specialised units in Europe. There, machines did the work of his heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and circulatory system. The staff did everything they could to save Dan's life, but at 1250 on Monday 20th January, Dan died, surrounded by his family.
Dan was just 16 when he died. He was one of the very last people anyone would have expected to come to harm from drugs, but he did. Tim, Fiona and Jacob felt if this could happen to someone like Dan, it could happen to anyone, and they wanted to do all they could to prevent this. Dan’s death is a tragedy that needn't have happened. The Daniel Spargo-Mabbs Foundation exists to make sure no harm happens to another young person through drugs or alcohol, and that all other young people get to go home safely.
A tribute to our Dan
Written by Tim, Fiona and Jacob Spargo-Mabbs and issued by the Metropolitan Police press bureau on the day of his funeral, 11 February 2014
Tribute to Dan 23.1.14.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [172.0 KB]
Tribute to Dan Spargo-Mabbs 27 January 2014
A tribute to Dan written by his headteacher, Richard Parrish, a week after he died.
Spargo-Mabbs tribute 27-1-14.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [108.5 KB]
Background statement for inquest of Daniel Spargo-Mabbs 12 February 2015
Fiona and Tim were invited to write a background statement for the coroner, Ms Ormond-Walshe, of which this is an extract, in order to provide her with information about the boy, their son, whose death she was charged with investigating.
Dan's inquest - background statement
Adobe Acrobat document [195.1 KB]