A Salford student died by lethal caffeine overdose, inquest hears

She was described as ‘super intelligent’


A 24-year-old Salford student was found dead in Byron House Halls last year, after taking a lethal overdose of caffeine supplement.

Sophia Bennings was studying Biomedical Studies at the University of Salford, and was described as "super intelligent". The court heard she was "laughing and joking" with her sister the day before her death on March 19th.

According to The Mirror, the caffeine stimulant was bought legally on eBay, and did not have any warning labels on it regarding its toxicity.

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At the inquest, the coroner Alan Walsh recorded the death as a suicide, adding: "I have been a coroner sitting at this court for more than 18 years and this is the first ever death from caffeine toxicity."

The hearing was told Sophia was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, and she had done well in school and at college.

Sophia's father, Jimmy Singh, told the hearing: "She was coping really well with it and she was in the top of her year.

"She would have got a first and there wasn't any academic problem."

Leading up to Sophia's death, she made a series of Reddit posts, one said: "Before next week/by Monday. I'm ready to go. I have nothing left. I can't stop thinking about suicide and NEED to go."

A second read: "Last weekend here on planet Earth."

Her boyfriend, upon seeing these posts contacted her family, who had grown concerned about her not responding to their messages.

The hearing was told Sophie's sister Sarah took her to hospital on march 18th. She was discharged the same day and told to see her GP.

Mr Singh said: "Sarah said she seemed in quite good spirits, she was laughing about how difficult it was to park and how they couldn't find a parking space near the Accident and Emergency unit.

"If she said anything about ending her life, she would say, 'It'd be better off if I'm dead', but it was sort of off-the-cuff. We weren't aware of any attempt she made to harm herself."

Sarah said: "She was happy for me to take her to hospital. She admitted she had ordered something but it hadn't arrived yet. She was upbeat and laughing on the way there. We spoke about future plans."

Upon arriving at the hospital Sophia saw the mental health nurse for an hour. The nurse told the court: "I heard the summary about what they had spoken about and we asked her about what she had ordered online and she refused to answer.

"The mental health nurse had said that these sort of things were trivialised- a lot of people buy things but don't actually do anything with it.

"They see it as a comfort that it's there. It was never established when it was ordered. I asked Sophia if she found the consultation helpful and she said she thought the nurse was hilarious. I just remember thinking 'it's not a jokey manner".

Salford University's wellbeing service can be contacted by email here and Greater Manchester Nightline contact information can be found here.