Mental health blogger, 26, died after taking poisonous substance bought online, inquest hears

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 Act.

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 Act.

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 of trophies.

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 result.

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 incident."

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. Barnes said.

'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.

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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 substance's "poisoning."

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 required."

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.

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