Parents seek to overturn suicide ruling over daughter who took online diet pills

The family of a woman who died after taking a toxic chemical marketed as a slimming aid are set to challenge an inquest finding that she took her own life.

Bethany Shipsey, aged 21, died in hospital in February last year after ingesting pills containing Dinitrophenol (DNP) which had been sold illegally online.

Her parents, Doug and Carole Shipsey, have instructed law firm Irwin Mitchell to help them apply for a judicial review of the suicide conclusion recorded in February this year.

Bethany Shipsey died after taking an overdose of online diet pills, the inquest heard (Family handout/PA)
Bethany Shipsey died after taking pills containing Dinitrophenol, the inquest heard (Family handout/PA)

Worcestershire Coroner Geraint Williams recorded a narrative verdict, including a finding of suicide, after ruling that the care Bethany received at Worcestershire Royal Hospital had been "significantly substandard" and included several "basic" failings.

The coroner also said some staff at the hospital had shown a lack of communication as to who had responsibility for dealing with Bethany's condition, which deteriorated until she went into cardiac arrest.

But Mr Williams ruled that none of the failings were a cause of her death and that she probably would not have survived if she had been given different care, including sedation and urgent cooling treatment.

Public law specialist Oliver Carter, who is representing the family, said: "Doug and Carole have endured an incredibly difficult time which no parents should have to face.

"Ever since the inquest's conclusion they have held concerns regarding the Coroner's ruling and specifically whether it amounts to an error of law when all of the key facts are properly considered.

"While nothing will change what they have been through, they are determined to ensure this issue is properly considered, and that the conclusion reflects the truth of what happened to Bethany."

Miss Shipsey, an animal rescue and welfare advocate from Worcester, had a history of self-harm.

Her father, Doug Shipsey, hopes that the legal challenge will ensure that the inquest conclusion is a "fair reflection" of how his daughter died.

Mr Shipsey, aged 52, said: "Following the Coroner's findings, my wife and I began to consider the next steps available to us.

"The inquest was difficult for us, listening to the failings in the care of our daughter being discussed, while constantly thinking that she could have perhaps been saved.

"We are looking at all options available to us. We just want to ensure that the law is applied correctly in our daughter's case and that all the evidence is considered and reflected in the findings."

Bethany's parents are using the crowdfunding website CrowdJustice in order to raise money for the legal challenge.

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