An inquest has heard that a blogger consumed a lethal medication that received in the mail at a mental health facility in Stockport after she escaped from employees.
The hearing was then heard that Beth Matthews, 26, told them, “I will be dead in an hour.” On March 21 of last year, Beth, a patient at The Priory’s Cheadle Royal Secure Psychiatric Hospital, died after ingesting the chemical, which the hearing has already been told she obtained online.
Upon opening the package, which she said contained protein powder, she proceeded to pour the product into a cup. Two staff members then grabbed her and threw the cup to the ground in order to prevent her from drinking from it, according to an inquest into her death.
READ MORE: After a girl, 11, posted pornographic images of herself on Spotify, a Stockport MP brought up the matter in the legislature.
She “came out of the restraint” and put the container in her mouth as someone hit their alarm to call for help, but then she ran to the bathroom and drank from a faucet to consume the drug.
The two employees who were present when Beth opened the parcel gave testimony during the two-week inquest, which was heard in front of a jury on Friday at South Manchester Coroner’s Court in Stockport.
On Tuesday, March 21, employees who had worked the previous night for the daytime staff submitted a handover paper that read as follows: “EM requires staff to open packages. Risk of concealing objects in packages “She should not be permitted to open her own mail, it was stated at the hearing, and this was also noted in her care plan.
Nevertheless, the designated “security” who was in charge of delivering patients’ mail to them that day, Healthcare Assistant Olivia Woodruff, claimed she didn’t see the handover form and that “nothing was mentioned” verbally in the handover meeting.
She admitted, “I had never opened packages with Beth so I didn’t know the right method for her. She claimed to have approached Jonathan Heathcote, the ward manager, who allegedly responded, “It was acceptable for Beth to open boxes as long as we were at arm’s length, which we were.”
According to testimony given to the jury, Beth, who was then undergoing one-on-one observations, went to the ward’s nurses’ office to get her mail and was then escorted to the “Quiet Lounge” at about 1:10 p.m. There, she sat on a sofa with Ms. Woodruff and her colleague, fellow Healthcare Assistant Megan Tiplady, who was seated on chairs on either side of her.
Beth had eight packages to unpack, and Ms. Woodruff observed that Beth’s “leg was bouncing” and appeared to be “an agitated thing” while she sat doing so.
Before opening the parcel containing the allegedly dangerous drug, she opened three other packages that contained a sweatshirt, e-cigarette coils that were both seized, and a card with a handcrafted badge.
The inquiry was informed that when the staff inquired what was inside it, she replied that it was “protein powder as she wanted to try it.”
The plastic screw-top container was displayed to the jury, attorneys, and Christopher Matthews, Beth’s father, who was present in court, through a sealed see-through bag.
When Beth unscrewed the top, pierced the film, and “began pouring the contents into a cup,” the healthcare assistants claimed they couldn’t see the label on it since it was facing into her hand. Beth also didn’t reply to further inquiries about what it was.
At this time, they claimed, they got to their feet and started holding her down to stop her from drinking it. Megan Tiplady claimed that Beth was “adamant she wasn’t letting go” after they grabbed hold of her.
She remarked, “We wrestled her with the cup all the way to the quiet lounge door. “Olivia and I both resisted letting go. However, we had to sound the alarm since we were having trouble getting her to stop drinking from the cup and we needed more help.
“Beth had too much power. The bathtub was still present in the space. Are you going to press your alarm, Olivia asked me? To let go terrified us.” Beth “managed to come free of the restraint, grabbed the tub and placed it in her mouth,” she claimed as she hit her alarm.
When Beth “rushed out of the room,” according to Ms. Tiplady, she attempted to grab her but was unable to do so since no other staff members were present to detain her. As a result, she let go and followed Beth.
She claimed that Beth was “using water from the tap to swallow what was in her mouth” when she arrived in Beth’s room.
Ms. Tiplady stated as she exited her room: “She refused to answer when I tried to speak to her. She appeared enraged. I shall be dead in an hour, she declared as she entered her room once more.”
The bottle, according to Ms. Woodruff, was taken to the nurses’ office. No one knew what the drug was, so we had to Google it “She spoke. I had never heard of it, they continued.
Once the substance’s nature was known, the ward manager contacted an ambulance and informed the hearing. Beth was placed on two-to-one observations but soon started complaining of significant illness and breathing difficulties.
She was transferred to Wythenshawe Hospital once the paramedics arrived, but after unsuccessful resuscitation attempts, her death was announced at 3:55 p.m.
After the incident, the staff members who were on duty that day offered counseling, it was reported to the inquiry. While The Priory investigated a serious untoward incident.
Following a “failed suicide attempt” in 2019, Beth, who was diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) and is from the Cornish settlement of Menheniot close to Liskeard, gained a sizable social media following by blogging about her experience.
She had been transferred to The Priory’s Fern Unit for “specialized therapy” the November before after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Prior to her passing, Beth told a mental health nurse working on the unit that “there are items you can acquire to do the job.” On Friday, the nurse said at the inquest that she was unsure at the time “if she had or she was just thinking it.”
Says Leanne Williamson “She frequently considered taking her own life. Our chats frequently touched on death or dying. I therefore wasn’t overly astonished. Because of the plans that were in place, I was confident that she would be secure.”
The hearing is scheduled to end the following week.