Accident: Father of Two suffered fatal caffeine overdose

For all ya’ll that love caffeine, please read this carefully.

A father-of-two died from an ‘enormous’ caffeine overdose after eating a whole pack of high-energy mints which he thought were normal sweets, an inquest was told.

John Jackson, 40, was found dead after he snacked on caffeine-laden Hero Instant Energy Mints – unaware he was consuming huge quantities of the stimulant.

Just one of the sweets – sold alongside normal mints – contains a staggering 80mg of caffeine, equivalent to a single can of energy drink Red Bull.

An inquest heard Mr Jackson, who bought the £4 tin of 12 sweets from his local shop, died as a result of the huge levels of caffeine in his system.

The former painter and decorator was found dead in his flat in Darlaston, West Mids, on May 2 this year by his ex-partner Michelle, 48.

At Thursday’s hearing Black Country Coroner Robin Balmain warned the mints could pose a health risk and said he would ask the Government to investigate banning them.

He told the hearing: ‘This is a potentially very dangerous situation. The level of caffeine is enormous.

‘I think I’m as certain as I can be that Mr Jackson didn’t know that he was going to expose himself to this sort of danger.

‘I’m also going to write to the Department of Health because coroners have got powers under recent legislation to draw the attention of appropriate authorities to things that might be a danger to other people.

‘I didn’t know about these sweets, and if it’s the equivalent to Red Bull, you can’t imagine people drinking dozens and dozens of cans of Red Bull.’

Mr Balmain recorded a verdict of accidental death and ruled John was unaware of the mints’ high caffeine content.

Pathologist Dr Dragana Cvijan (corr) told the inquest a post-mortem found John had 155mg of caffeine per litre of blood – twice the maximum recommended daily amount for adults.

She said: ‘The most important compound found in the post mortem was caffeine.

‘I must say this is the first time in my experience that I’ve come across a caffeine overdose.’

Dr Cvijan said the medical cause of death was caffeine toxicity but added that an underlying liver condition which left heavy drinker John unable to properly absorb the stimulant was a contributing factor.

Speaking after the inquest his stepdaughter Rebecca Court, 23, from Tipton, West Mids, called for the mints to be banned.

She said: ‘On the box they said one tablet equals one can of energy drinks. A kid could go in and buy them and the same thing could happen to him.’

Manufacturer Hero Energy Ltd said it felt the company took adequate steps to make customers aware of the risk posed by caffeine.

They said that warnings on the packaging state that people shouldn’t consume more than five of the mints in 24 hours.

In a statement issued from their Birkenhead HQ, bosses Paul Hayes and Steve Hones said: ‘We fully understand the associated risk and dangers of caffeine and its consumption.

‘We are extremely vocal about these risks and highlight them at every available opportunity.

‘All this being said, we are very saddened by the news and will immediately look into how we can further make our consumers aware of the risks of caffeinated products.’

Please stay away from caffeine.

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