'Strong caffeine products should be banned' says grandmother of overdose victim
A GRANDMOTHER has called for the sale of powerful caffeine powder to be banned after her 23-year-old grandson died from taking too much of the drug.
Michael Lee Bedford, 23, of Fir Tree Close, in Forest Town, Mansfield, died after taking the caffeine, which was the equivalent of 70 cans of energy drink and can be bought on the internet for just £3.29.
Advice on the packet recommends no one should take more than one sixteenth of a teaspoon, but an inquest yesterday heard Michael had taken "spoonfuls".
His grandmother Glenis Noble, of Bilsthorpe, said after the inquest: "I feel like it should be banned. He was my first grandson I was with his mum when he was born.
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"It makes me feel sick [that these products can be bought so easily]."
And his aunty, Sue Burton, 34, of Hucknall, added: "I think there should be a warning on it saying it can kill."
They said Michael had not bought the caffeine himself but had been given it by a friend at a party.
Notts Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman warned people about the dangers of taking products – whether they are legal like caffeine, or illegal.
Speaking at the inquest yesterday, he said: "Caffeine is so freely available on the internet for £3.29 but it's so lethal if taken in the wrong dose and here we see the consequence.
"So many people upset and distraught by the death of Michael."
He also criticised the product, which was not named in the inquest, for recommending such a small dosage, which could be easily ignored.
"Who would take [one sixteenth of a teaspoon]? It's such a small dosage, the warning is so small on the front of it.
"If you're sharing a bag, carrying it around and if you hadn't seen the warning – it could be that anyone at the party could have taken it. It's so dangerous to take something like this."
Michael's friends, who had been at the party with him, on April 9 also spoke at the inquest. One 15-year-old said he saw him take "spoonfuls of white powder", which he washed down with a can of energy drink. Michael became ill about 15 minutes later.
"He was puking up blood and he was sweating really bad," said another friend, aged 17. The Coroner's Court also heard he became incoherent and his speech was slurred.
His friends tried to help him and called an ambulance, which arrived quickly.
Addressing the family at Nottingham Coroner's Court yesterday, he added: "Michael left a huge hole in all of your lives so tragically by taking something so freely available on the internet."
He recorded a verdict of accidental death. Detective Inspector David Richardson confirmed there were no suspicious circumstances and Michael was not acting illegally.