Teenager died after insulin injection

Charlie Dunne

Charlie Dunne

First published in News
Last updated

A TEENAGER died after injecting herself with her partner’s insulin, an inquest has concluded.

Charlie Dunne was admitted to Royal Bolton Hospital on December 17 after her partner, Terence Rhoden, found her unconscious on the living-room floor of her Atherton flat when he returned from an appointment.

The inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court heard that Charlie, aged 19, was found to have a blood sugar level of 1.1, instead of the usual level of around five.

Dr Emma Wheatley treated Charlie, of Roberts Street, when she was transferred to intensive care.

She said: “Normally when the blood sugar level returns to normal the patient will regain consciousness unless the blood sugar is low for a long time.”

A post-mortem examination following Charlie’s death on December 23, 2013, showed she also had bronchial pneumonia, but pathologist David Bisset explained that this was not uncommon in someone who had suffered a period of unconsciousness or immobility.

Her cause of death was given as bronchial pneumonia and hypoglycaemic brain damage brought on by insulin-induced hypoglycaemia, and area coroner Alan Walsh recorded that Charlie died as a result of misadventure.

He said: “There is no evidence that Charlie intended to harm herself. This was likely a cry for attention that had the most dramatic and catastrophic consequences.

“I believe Charlie knew how to use the insulin pen, but it is unlikely that she would have known the consequences of injecting insulin.”

The inquest heard that Charlie was a bubbly and energetic teenager but that she had sought help for panic attacks and anxiety in the past.

In a statement, her former boyfriend, Lee Eckersley, said that in the past she had tried to take pills and drink Coke, even though she was allergic to caffeine, but he thought it was just a way of getting his attention.

Mr Rhoden, who is diabetic, told the court that he had found an empty insulin pen on the sofa next to Charlie which had not been there when he left her several hours earlier.

It had been in the fridge, where he kept his unused pens, and was the last one in a box, which he later found in the bin.

Charlie’s uncle, Andrew Dunne, told the court that Mr Rhoden had told him in the corridor of the hospital that he had injected Charlie with insulin two weeks before her death because she had heard it could cause people to lose weight.

Mr Rhoden disputed this, however, saying he had ‘never injected Charlie with insulin’ and would have noticed if she had been injecting herself.

Greater Manchester Police investigated the circumstances surrounding Charlie’s death and were satisfied that there was no third party involvement.

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