Tragic teenager thought insulin was slimming aid

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AN ATHERTON teenager who took her boyfriend’s insulin in the false belief it could help her lose weight died from an overdose of it.

An inquest heard that Charlie Dunne died as a result of injecting herself with the hormone, although her motives for doing so were unclear.

An uncle told the Bolton hearing that her diabetic boyfriend Terence Rhoden had previously injected her to help her slim. Mr Rhoden denied this although he did say she had once taken it believing it would help her lose weight.

But an ex said she once took a pills as a cry for attention and the coroner erred more towards this motive.

Mr Rhoden said that on December 16, the 19-year-old had been out playing darts and returned to her flat in Robert Street, Atherton, after midnight. She woke him up, telling him he was too good for her.

Miss Dunne then fell asleep on the floor. Mr Rhoden tried to wake her several times before he left for a 7am hospital appointment but she pushed him away.

He returned at 12.30pm to find Miss Dunne on the floor, foaming at the mouth and breathing heavily. His insulin pen– which was in the fridge before he left – was on the sofa. Paramedics found her blood sugar was low and gave her glucose. The former Next and William Hill worker was rushed to Royal Bolton Hospital, where she remained in intensive care until she died on December 23.

An autopsy revealed Miss Dunne – who was not diabetic – died from broncho-pneumonia and a severe brain injury, caused by insulin-induced hypoglycemia.

Intensive care consultant Dr Emma Wheatley said: “If someone who is not diabetic takes insulin, the effect is more dramatic. Miss Dunne had suffered from irrecoverable brain injury from the insulin overdose.”

Her uncle, Andrew Dunne, said Mr Rhoden had told that him two weeks prior to the overdose, she had used insulin to lose weight. While Mr Rhoden agreed he had said this, he denied he injected his girlfriend, who had overcome problems with a congenital hip disorder when she was younger.

In a statement, her ex-boyfriend Lee Eckersley said she had once tried to take a load of medicated pills as a cry for attention. But her family did not believe she would deliberately harm herself.

Friends described how Miss Dunne, who was on a hairdressing course at Wigan and Leigh College, seemed happy the night before, but then suffered a panic attack after losing a darts match.

Det Insp Paul Rollinson confirmed that after a thorough investigation, there was no third party involvement and believed she had injected herself. He said that checking her phone there was no evidence that she had looked up anything about insulin and slimming.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, coroner Alan Walsh said: “She was a vibrant and bubbly 19-year-old but on occasions seemed someone who would cry for attention. It is likely Miss Dunne administered the insulin herself as she had been told how to inject her boyfriend. But it is unlikely she would have known the catastrophic effect it would have.”