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Red Bull caffeine drink 'may have helped cause' student's death

Drinking several cans of Red Bull could have played a part in the death of a 21-year-old student who died after she collapsed in a nightclub, an inquest heard today.

Drinking several cans of Red Bull could have played a part in the death of a 21-year-old student who died after she collapsed in a nightclub, an inquest heard today.

Chloe Leach was taken ill at The Sugar Mill club in Hull in the early hours of September 30 last year.

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A coroner heard how Miss Leach, who was studying at the University of Lincoln's Hull campus, died from cardiac arrhythmia which affects the heart's rhythm.

But neuro-pathologist Ian Scott said it was less clear what caused this arrhythmia in the young woman, who was an epileptic.

Dr Scott told the inquest in Hull how the most likely cause was a condition called Long QT Syndrome, which affects the organ's electric pulse.

He said tests Miss Leach had taken after her mother suffered a heart attack showed her heart was at the "upper limit of normal".

The pathologist said the high levels of caffeine she ingested when she drank at least four cans of Red Bull could her pushed her heart over this threshold into abnormal.

The doctor said it was also possible Miss Leach's heart could have deteriorated in the five years since she was tested.

The court heard how, in a remarkable coincidence, a man called Danny Latimer also collapsed in the club that night.

Tests later showed Mr Latimer's drink had been spiked with the drug GHB.

But Det Sgt Ian Dobson told the court police could find no evidence Miss Leach's drink had also been spiked and no connections at all between the two incidents.

Hull coroner Geoffrey Saul recorded that Miss Leach died of natural causes.

He said he was confident the cardiac arrhythmia was the cause of her death.

The coroner listened to arguments from lawyers for Miss Leach's family urging him to play down the possibility Long QT Syndrome was the cause of this.

But Mr Saul concluded it probably was the trigger.

He said some "ambient factors" such as the caffeine in the Red Bull drinks may have pushed her heart above the "upper limit of normal".

The coroner said Miss Leach had been drinking but only at "social levels".

He added: "Chloe was out that evening enjoying herself with friends as young people do.

"None of the events leading up to her death reflected badly on her or any of her friends.

"She was out enjoying herself. There's no evidence to cause reproach to anybody."

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