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Mother urges web clampdown on sale of DNP 'diet pills' after daughter's inquest

Published 23/07/2015

Eloise Parry died after taking 'diet pills' thought to contain a highly toxic chemical (West Mercia Police/PA)
Eloise Parry died after taking 'diet pills' thought to contain a highly toxic chemical (West Mercia Police/PA)

The mother of a student who died after taking toxic "diet pills" has called for a clampdown on websites selling potentially deadly drugs.

Speaking after hearing how her daughter sent a "heartbreaking" text saying she knew she was dying, Fiona Parry called for tighter controls of on-line sales of dinitrophenol (DNP).

The inquest heard that 21-year-old Eloise Parry, from Shrewsbury, died within hours of taking eight DNP tablets in April this year.

After the hearing at Shropshire's Shirehall, her mother said: "I would very much like to see much harsher and stiffer penalties for distributing and supplying this substance."

Ms Parry, a chemistry teacher, added: "Looking good should never cost you your health or your life.

"It's been difficult to listen to the events that led to my daughter Eloise's death and there's a certain amount of relief the inquest is now over.

"And I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who tried to help her in the days, weeks and hours leading up to her death."

The student's mother said if the drug had been banned, her daughter "would have taken more seriously the warnings about how dangerous it was".

Supported by family, including Eloise's younger sister Rebecca, Ms Parry also paid tribute to her as "a real character" who was full of life.

She told reporters: "She had so much potential - of my five children she was definitely the brightest - and it is such a waste when we lose a young person.

"All that potential is gone and lost.

"She should have had a whole lifetime ahead of her, doing things, enjoying things, and it's gone."

Urging others not to be tempted into using DNP, Ms Parry went on: "If somebody as capable as her can make that mistake it really worries me that other people will, so I want people to know how much it cost her, in the hope they will realise how serious those warnings are."

Ruling the death to be accidental, Shropshire Coroner John Ellery said: "This is clearly a dangerous, toxic and fatal substance which should not be accessible, certainly not to persons seeking unlicensed non-prescribed medication."

The coroner stressed that he was not advising the Government on how to act but wished to draw the circumstances of the death to the attention of the relevant ministers.

DNP, which is also available as a powder, is not a controlled substance despite being linked to several previous deaths in the UK and overseas.

The industrial chemical, which is unfit for human consumption, was the subject of an Interpol warning notice issued to 190 countries in May.

The hour-long inquest was told Eloise, who was being treated for bulimia, drove herself to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital hours after taking DNP at her flat on April 12.

In a text message sent while she was at the hospital, Eloise apologised to her lecturer and tutors at Glyndwr University in Wrexham for "being so stupid".

The message, read to the court by Detective Sergeant Andy Chatting, said: "I screwed up big time. Binged/purged all night and took four pills at 4am.

"I took another four when I woke and I started vomiting soon after. I think I am going to die."

Eloise used PayPal to buy a quantity of DNP on April 4 and ordered a second batch at 6.14am on the day of her death.

The inquest heard that a website marketing DNP - an industrial chemical historically used in explosives, dyes and fungicides - had been closed down but "popped up again in an almost identical format" hours later.

A police investigation is still ongoing to establish who supplied the tablets, which may have originated in Europe or Canada.

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