Girl, 11, died after sniffing aerosol

THE mother of an 11-year-old girl found dead in her bed after inhaling fumes from a deodorant can has issued a stark warning to other parents over the dangers of aerosols.

THE mother of an 11-year-old girl found dead in her bed after inhaling fumes from a deodorant can has issued a stark warning to other parents over the dangers of aerosols.

Charlotte Henshaw was found dead in the bunk bed she shared with her nine-year-old sister at her home at Westhorpe, Burwell, near Newmarket on the morning of February 15, an inquest heard.

Although there was no evidence to suggest the youngster had any history of sniffing aerosols, her devastated mother Lesley Johnson, 37, urged parents to be aware of the dangerous fumes that come from them.

An inquest into the youngster's death held at Ely Magistrate's Court yesterday, heard how the youngster suffered a heart attack probably caused by butane fumes from a deodorant can that was found in the youngster's hand.

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Cambridgeshire Coroner William Morris, who recorded a verdict of accidental death, heard how the youngster was found dead by her mother at around 8am.

There was no evidence that Charlotte had any history of sniffing aerosols, but that she had suffered a heart attack, possibly caused by the small amount butane substances found in her body.

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After the hearing the youngster's tearful mother said: "We have no reason to believe Charlotte was involved in solvent abuse or sniffing aerosols. We never had any problems of that kind or any cause for concern at all.

"She was nearly 12 years old and liked the smell of deodorant. She was at that age and had just started going to discos and that kind of thing."

The inquest heard how the deodorant was bought for Charlotte just a day before she died and that she had taken it to bed with her. Police checks later showed only a small amount of deodorant had been used.

Ms Johnson added: "All it took was a tiny amount to kill a child, parents need to be aware of the dangers and tell their children what these things can do to them.

"I didn't know she had the can in bed, I don't know why she did that. I think everyone where we live knows about the dangers of aerosols because of Charlotte, but this is a warning to all parents."

Ms Johnson's partner, Brian Ripplegale, added: "We are sure Charlotte wasn't involved in solvent abuse, so we don't really think it should be our place to put out a warning about the dangers of aerosols, we think that should be done by the Government."

Previously, Mr Ripplegale had described Charlotte as a happy, bubbly, well-liked child. She had just become top of her science group at St Felix Middle School, in Newmarket, where she is said to have been "well loved".

He added: "She was a really special, beautiful girl and I cannot believe she has gone."

Chip Somers, who runs Focus, a drug rehabilitation centre in Bury St Edmunds, previously warned that solvents are one of the most dangerous of all substances people can take.

Solvents kill 10 times as many people as drugs such as ecstasy and it is reported to be particularly popular with youngsters aged from 14 to 17.

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