Mental health blogger, 26, died after taking poisonous substance bought online, inquest hears
An inquest has heard that a “charismatic” mental
health blogger passed away after ingesting a poison she purchased online.
After informing the hospital staff that the cause was
protein powder, Beth Matthews, 26, collapsed in front of them. She had been
committed to The Priory’s Cheadle Royal psychiatric hospital in Stockport for
“specialist therapy” after being detained under the Mental Health
The Manchester Evening News is not naming the
“poisonous” substance that Beth allegedly consumed at the hearing,
but it was revealed that she did so after cracking open a package she had
ordered online. On March 21 of last year, at about 1.15 pm, Beth “quickly
became unwell,” and paramedics were dispatched.
She experienced a cardiac arrest and was taken to
Wythenshawe Hospital, but died there at 3:55 p.m. Beth, from the Cornish
village of Menheniot near Liskeard, was diagnosed with an emotionally unstable
personality disorder at a young age and had mental health issues ever since,
according to the inquest.
The coroner testified before the jury of six women and five
men hearing the case at South Manchester Coroner’s Court that the woman
suffered severe injuries in a failed suicide attempt after jumping from a
bridge in April 2019.
Assistant Coroner Andrew Bridgman informed them upon opening
the case that her injuries had resulted in “significant long-term pain and
disability.” She experienced “further deterioration of her mental
health” in 2021 and was hospitalized in Cornwall under the Mental Health
She was then moved to The Priory in Cheadle in November 2021
for specialized Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), where she remained a
patient until her passing in March of the following year.
Beth’s mother Jane Matthews read a statement to the court in
which she described her daughter as a “bright and vivacious girl” who
would “light up the lives of everyone she met.”
Ms. Matthews called Beth “caring, intelligent, and
articulate” and added that she had a “quick sense of humor” and
was “proud to call herself a Cornish girl.”
She was a gifted sailor who joined the Royal Yacht Club at
the age of 15 and competed in the prestigious Fast Net race, winning “lots
Beth was a talented pianist and guitarist who had a variety
of pets, including her “beloved” cat Sparkles.
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Because of her mental illness, which dominated her later
years, Ms. Matthews claimed that she “never realized her potential.”
She claimed, however, that her personality “attracted people,” as
shown by the “huge Twitter following she gained.”
She had such an impact on so many people’s lives, Ms.
Matthews continued. She was able to assist those who reached out to her as a
Matthew Parkinson, Beth’s ex-partner, testified that he
first met Beth in 2014 while they both worked at a watersports facility and
that they bought a home together in 2017.
According to him, she was very “protective” of her
mental health at the beginning of their relationship and would “put a
smile on and carry on.”
But he claimed that as time went on, her issues became
“more noticeable.” After she fell off the bridge in 2019, he claimed
she was “in pain every day.”
She believed she “wasn’t going to make any more
recovery from those injuries,” he said, two years later. She “reacted
very, very negatively,” he added.
Mr. Parkinson remarked: “I believe that night, or
possibly the night after, after the two-year mark, was when her mental health
really started to deteriorate. She essentially lost all hope.”
He claimed that Beth ended their relationship while she was
a guest at The Priory in Cheadle before “changing her mind” and
“asking him to reconsider.”
She “said some unpleasant things” in March of last
year, he claimed, but he said he still intended to mend fences with her when
she left The Priory because, “I thought she would want to do that too
despite what she had said before.”
The March 15 attempt to call Mr. Parkinson was made 41 times
in less than an hour, according to the inquest, and she then sent a WhatsApp
message saying she was “completely heartbroken” in response.
Additionally, a message was sent on March 19; Mr. Parkinson said he couldn’t
remember if he responded.
He claimed that many of his phone calls with Beth at that
time were “negative,” during which she would tell him about
“incidents,” including “trying to elude, not eating or drinking,
that sort of thing.” He remarked, “It got to the point where it felt
like it was every other day.”
Emergency Medical Technician Kate Barnes of North West
Ambulance Service (NWAS) informed the court in a statement that she was called
to the hospital at 1:36 p.m. on March 21 for a “category one
She claimed that when she arrived, the staff informed her
that Miss Matthews had received a package containing the substance, which she
had opened in front of them and consumed.
When I asked how the incident had occurred, they told me
that they had asked what the package was before Miss Matthews opened it, to
which she replied that she had ordered some protein powder to the unit, Ms.
‘Patients were allowed to have packages delivered to the
unit, but they had to be opened in front of staff, at arm’s length and were
typically opened in the common area,’ the staff allegedly informed her.
Miss Matthews “managed to open and consume an unknown
amount” of the substance, which was in a “small plastic, screw-top
container the type tablets would normally be held in,” according to Ms. Barnes,
who claimed to have heard this information.
The substance was in “tablet/powder form,”
according to her NWAS coworker Christopher Bauer, and the container “had
foreign writing on it.” Dr. Susan Kirk, an emergency medicine consultant
at Wythenshawe Hospital, described the efforts made to save lives, including
the administration of an antidote.
According to the woman’s statement, “the paramedics
gave us the information that she was an inpatient at The Priory and that she
had taken an overdose of (the substance) that she had purchased online.”
She claimed that in her opinion, Beth had a cardiac arrest as a result of the
After a post-mortem, pathologist Dr. Andrew Yates stated
that he thought the substance’s 1B) ‘poisoning’ caused 1A) methemoglobinemia,
which was the cause of her death.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
(GMFRS) specialist in “hazardous materials” Dave Baxter claimed that
he visited the Fern Unit at The Priory on the evening of March 21 and tested
the substance’s remnants, but that “no specialist clean up was
Stephen Jones is the family’s attorney, and Pravin Fernando
and Maya Ravindran are the representatives of The Priory and Cornwall
Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, respectively. The inquest is still going on;
it should be over next week.