Family pay tribute to troubled Sheffield teenager who overdosed on prescription pills

Bethany Wood.
Bethany Wood.

A troubled Sheffield teenager died after taking an overdose of prescription medication, an inquest heard.

Bethany Wood, aged 18, died in Northern General Hospital on December 1, 2017 of multiple organ failure, almost a month after taking an overdose of propranolol pills, a medication she had been prescribed for anxiety.

An inquest into her death today at Sheffield Coroners’ Court heard testimony from family members that Bethany had been a ‘challenging child’, beginning to self-harm at the age of 12.

She has been in contact with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAHMS) between 2012 and 2014 and had attended A+E on multiple occasions.

After being expelled from Chaucer School and struggling to integrate at Park Academy, her behaviour escalated to the point where she moved out of her family home and into the Roundabout hostel, where she met her boyfriend, Jamie Bowskill.

The pair subsequently lived together on Erskine Road in Heeley, with police being called out to the address on multiple occasions to reports of domestic incidents.

A police investigation begun six days after Bethany was taken to hospital, however, found nothing to indicate she had been the victim of a criminal act.

The inquest also heard evidence from South Yorkshire Police regarding an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation which was ordered after Bethany’s death.

The investigation looked at whether a call made to police by a neighbour of the couple on the night Bethany took the overdose was treated with the urgency it should have been.

While the IOPC found that a lack of resources had slowed down the police’s response to the call, the investigation did not raise any concerns about professional conduct.

In recording Bethany’s death as drug related, assistant coroner David Urpeth said the evidence he had heard from her family and friends meant he could not be sure she had intended to kill herself when she took the overdose.

He did say, however, that he was convinced she took the tablets herself and there was no third party involvement.

In his concluding remarks, Mr Urpeth offered words of consolation to Bethany’s family.

He said: “I am acutely aware Bethany was 18-year-old and that is no age for someone to die.

“I don’t think there is anything in the information I have read that people didn’t do all they could for her.

“Her death is a tragedy for her and for all those she loved and I am truly sorry for your loss.”

After the hearing, Bethany’s family spoke of their heartbreak at losing her.

Bethany’s aunty, Lindsay Wood, said: “She was a feisty character. She would do what she wanted regardless of what anybody said.

“But we loved her to bits. We just wish she would have opened up to one of us.”