Mystery over teen’s death

DEDICATED student and aspiring GP Anjali Sharma died of a drug overdose in August 2011 at the age of 17, an inquest heard yesterday.

At a hearing in Salisbury, Ian Singleton, the assistant coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon, recorded a narrative verdict, which does not attribute the cause of death to any one source.

The inquest was delayed for 20 months while the coroner awaited toxicology results, which said Anjali had an excessive amount of diphenhydramine, an antihistamine, in her system.

The drug is most commonly found in Benadryl products, and is normally prescribed by a GP for sleep disorders or allergies.

Anjali was found by her mother, Anjana, shortly after 10pm on Monday, August 15, 2011, lying down on the sofa in the lounge at their Lytchett Way home in Nythe.

She had been seen earlier that evening by her brother, Abhishek, watching television after a day of volunteering at a town centre charity shop, and later sleeping between 8pm and 9pm.

An ambulance was called once her mother had made the discovery, following her return from work, but paramedics could do nothing to save the teenager.

No evidence had been found by Wiltshire Police to suggest where, when or how Anjali might have sourced and taken the drug.

Statements read out during the hearing found Anjali was a happy, hard-working young woman, who had never shown any signs of wishing to do herself harm.

She had been in the midst of studying towards a medical exam, due to take place on August 19, 2011, when she died.

Anjali had struggled with insomnia in March 2011, when she was studying for exams as a New College student, but was denied sleeping pills by her GP due to her age.

In their testimony, her family said Anjali had raised no concerns over her sleep or stress ahead of the medical exam, which was described as crucial for her future at university.

In her statement following Anjali's death, Anjana said: “She was very jolly. She loved to cook, listen to music and reading.

“She was dedicated to her studies at New College.”

In summing up, Mr Singleton said: “There is no evidence as to when, why or what Anjali's intentions were when she consumed this drug.

“She had no reason to self-harm and she had not complained of sleep problems, as she had in the past.

“There is no indication she wished to take her own life.

“I propose, in these circumstances, to return a narrative verdict.”

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