Sheffield teen died sniffing aerosol fumes

Tragedy: Bethany Adcock died after inhaling aerosol fumes.
Tragedy: Bethany Adcock died after inhaling aerosol fumes.

A TEENAGER who died sniffing aerosol fumes was one of half a dozen young girls at her school experimenting with the deadly craze, an inquest heard.

Bethany Adcock, aged 14, collapsed in her bedroom in Sheffield after inhaling fumes from a deodorant can in front of a friend.

An inquest heard Bethany’s pal warned her it could kill her – but she claimed she knew other girls who did it regularly.

Bethany had been shown by another teen how to inhale to get high and her friend said she had seen Bethany sniff from an aerosol can in her bedroom once before.

PC Mark Wilcock, who investigated Bethany’s death, said sniffing aerosol gas was a craze being tried by pupils at Meadowhead School.

“The common denominator is it had spread around a group at school,” he said.

“It is apparent this was not the first time Bethany had done it.

“It seems to have been something done in the fairly recent past, but it was not her first time. She had done it at least twice before.

“She told her friend another girl had shown her how to do it roughly a month before the night in question.”

The girl who introduced Bethany to solvent abuse had herself been ‘caught red-handed’ by her mother and had stopped, the Sheffield inquest was told.

The mum told the parents of another girl, who was also inhaling fumes, and she too stopped. But Bethany’s family were not aware she was involved.

PC Wilcock said on the night she died Bethany, of Westwick Road, Greenhill, inhaled for around 25 minutes before collapsing on her bed and rolling to the floor. Her friend screamed for help, and Bethany’s distraught dad Craig gave emergency first aid.

She was rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital, but was pronounced dead just over an hour after the alarm was raised.

In the wake of the tragedy, the names of all children involved had been passed to their headteacher and social services.

“We put measures in place to ensure appropriate education was provided,” PC Wilcock said. We spoke to the headteacher and to a lady from social services and all the names we were aware of were provided to them. I know the school sent out a letter in the immediate aftermath.”

A post-mortem examination failed to find any reason for Bethany’s death other than traces in her blood of a chemical used in aerosol sprays.

Pathologist Mudher Al-Adnani said solvent abuse can affect heart rhythms.

He said the effect was ‘completely unpredictable’ – the same person could inhale one day without any effect but do the same thing the next day and die.

Assistant deputy coroner Julian Fox recorded a verdict of death by misadventure.

He said: “Bethany had acquired a practice of sniffing aerosols. She had acquired that practice from friends.

“She did it deliberately that night – she sniffed to inhale – but she certainly did not intend the sadly fatal consequences.”