An inquest hears how 21-year-old Eloise Parry, who died after taking “toxic” diet pills, sent a heart-breaking text message to her college lecturer saying “I think I am going to die.. I’m so scared”.
Miss Parry, who suffered from bulimia, died on April 12th last year at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital after she bought diet pills online containing toxic pesticide 2,4 Dinitrophenol, known as DNP.
In the hours before her death, Miss Parry sent a text message to her college lecturer from A&E saying she was scared and thought she was going to die.
“I screwed up big time; binged/purged all night and took 4 pills at 4am. Took another 4 when I woke. Started vomiting soon after. Now in RSH A&E. I think I’m going to die. No one is known to survive if they vomit because of DNP.
“I’m so scared. I’m so sorry for being so stupid. Thank you so much for everything. I never deserved it. Please pass on my absolute appreciation for all that the tutors have done for me. Thank you more than words. Ella.”
Miss Parry, a student at Glyndwr University, initially drove herself to A&E after becoming unwell, shortly after taking eight of the pills. She died later that day.
Her mother, Fiona Parry, said at the time: “She was literally burning up from within. When she stopped breathing they (A&E staff) put her on a ventilator and carried on fighting to save her.
“When her heart stopped they couldn’t revive her. They never stood a chance of saving her. She burned and crashed.”
Shropshire Coroner John Ellery, ruled that Miss Parry died of an “accidental drug overdose” as a result of taking DNP.
A post-mortem confirmed that she died from the toxic side effects after taking the dangerous diet pills. Her GP said that while Miss Parry was not addicted, she had “no apparent ability” to stop taking DNP.
Following the inquest Fiona Parry urged others not to take DNP. which is illegal to sell as a weight loss drug.
Speaking outside the coroner’s court she said: “These substances are sold by people who don’t care about your health – they just want your money. You’ll be taking a substance that ultimately will destroy your looks and your health from inside out, so please don’t do it.”
Mr Ellery said that he will write to the health minister about the “toxic and fatal” drug, which is already listed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as unfit for human consumtion.
“This is a clearly a dangerous, toxic and fatal substance which should not be accessible and certainly not to persons seeking online self-prescribed medication.”
He added: “If the minister considers it appropriate to see whether DNP should be a classified substance that would be an appropriate outcome from this inquest.”
Channel 4 News correspondent Andy Davies writes: “Since 2012, the FSA has shut down at least 50 websites offering DNP for sale. But as we heard in court today, that is no easy task. When one website is closed, all too often another one quickly appears in its place.”
Eloise’s death has prompted police to issue a warning about the dangers of buying supplements and medicines off the internet.
DNP, which has been marketed online as a ‘fat burning’ pill, is linked to a number of deaths in UK and was the subject of an Interpol warning notice issued to 190 countries in May.
Journalism student Abigail Davies, who suffered from severe anorexia as a teenager, knows the side effects all too well after taking diet pills containing DNP.
The 23-year-old, who was hospitalised several times, has spoken out about her eating disorder and the devastating side effects of DNP.
Describing what it was like to take DNP, Miss Davie said: “My pulse was racing, I had palpitations. I had to lie on the sofa and do nothing. I couldn’t go to school at the time just because I was so unwell.
“It would hit you and you would feel like you had the flu but worse. You’d be sweating and you’d be so disorientated you wouldn’t know what was going on.”
DNP is a combination of compounds that works by disrupting energy cells and was first believed to be used on an industrial scale to make explosives during the First World War. Small doses of it are thought to have been first used by the Russian army to help keep soldiers warm in winter, resulting in weight loss.
The dangerous chemical dramatically speeds up metabolism leading to rapid weight loss, it breaks down and impairs cellular fat and carbohydrate, but instead of the energy being used by the cells it is released as heat.
Some of the side effects of speeding up a metabolic rate at dangerously fast levels include fever, excessive sweating, rapid irregular heartbeat and dehydration.
According to the NHS, a combination of the side effects can have an extremely damaging effect on the body and can result in a coma or death.
Despite being illegal, diet pills containing DNP are widely available online sold as capsules and powders.
Those marketing the toxic chemical claim it can shift up to 7kg in a week without any changes to lifestyle or diet. Over the last decade, the drug has become increasingly popular with bodybuilders for its ‘quick-fix’ ability to give rapid weight loss.
— FoodStandardsAgency (@foodgov) July 23, 2015
The FSA has been working with police in warning the public against taking the deadly substance.
Rod Ainsworth, FSA director, said: “It’s really important that people understand quite how dangerous DNP is. We have been working hard to raise awareness of the dangers of DNP and to encourage people to let us know if they are sold products containing this chemical.”