World Dwarf Games champion died from excess painkillers, inquest hears

A former gold medallist at the World Dwarf Games died from an excess of painkilling drugs, an inquest heard.

The body of Ruth Smith, 22, was found in a shared flat at Falmouth University, Cornwall.

Ms Smith won a gold medal as a junior competitor in the sport of boccia - similar to bowls - at the World Dwarf Games in 2005.

Tests showed lethal levels of paracetamol and codeine in her system, Pathologist Dr Julianne Stolte said.

She said Ms Smith died from an excess of the drugs with epilepsy as a possible factor.

Spinal problems

The inquest in Truro heard Ms Smith, a journalism student, had phoned the out-of-hours Serco health service feeling unwell after a seizure on 23 November 2013.

Medical records showed she was prescribed the anti-seizure drug midazolam and Co-codamol, made up of paracetamol and codeine.

Dr Gareth Smith, a consultant neurologist at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, told the inquest it was unusual to prescribe midazolam when someone was not being cared for 24-hours-a-day, as it had to be administered by someone else while a seizure was happening.

The inquest heard Ms Smith, from Prestwich near Manchester, had several health issues including dwarfism, spinal problems, depression and epilepsy.

Ms Smith's flatmates did not see or hear from her from the evening of 23 November. Her body was found on the afternoon of 25 November.

Ms Smith's mother, Lynn Smith, described her daughter as a determined student, "full of life" and someone whom everyone adored.

The inquest continues.

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