Stephanie Sillifant: Student died of natural causes, inquest finds

image captionStephanie Sillifant had a history of epilepsy and diabetes

A student who was among four young people to die over a weekend, prompting police to issue a drugs warning, died of natural causes, an inquest found.

Stephanie Sillifant, 18, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, had been at Newcastle University for two days when she died on 4 October.

An inquiry into illegal drugs was begun when three others died in Newcastle.

The inquest heard the medical student had diabetes and epilepsy but had not taken any illicit drugs.

Miss Sillifant died during a 48-hour period when a second Newcastle University student, Jeni Larmour, 18, from County Armagh, a 21-year-old Northumbria University student and an 18-year-old man from Washington also passed away.

Northumbria Police investigated allegations that drugs including ketamine had been circulating in the city's universities.

The inquest in Newcastle heard Ms Sillifant was monitoring her medication for diabetes and epilepsy but concluded she died as a result of either one of the conditions or a combination of both.

'Anti drugs'

Pathologist Dr Peter Cooper told the inquest Ms Sillifant had a "very low level of alcohol" in her system and was "certainly not intoxicated by alcohol at the time of her death".

She had been taking her medication regularly but had no other drugs - including ketamine - in her system, he said.

Det Con Lucy Joyce from Northumbria Police told the hearing that witnesses informed officers Ms Sillifant was "anti drugs" and "nobody had witnessed her taking drugs".

Coroner Karen Dilks said it was "clear from the evidence heard that she was compliant with her medical regime".

The student "did not consume any substance at all causing these tragic events", and there was "nothing to suggest it was anything other than an entirely natural death".

Ms Dilks concluded "this was a young girl who tragically died because of pre-existing medical conditions", and passed on her condolences to Ms Sillifant's mother, who followed the proceedings by video link.

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