Blogger Beth Matthews dies after taking poison she ordered from Russia

A British mental health blogger and accomplished yachtswoman has died in a psychiatric facility after ingesting a toxin she bought from Russia – she told staff it was protein powder.

Beth Matthews, 26, was not supposed to open her mail at The Priory Cheadle Royal Hospital in 2022 but did after ‘inconsistencies’ in her care, an inquest was told on Monday, The Manchester Evening News reported.

Police forensic officer Claire Smith said Matthews’ phone revealed a purchase order for a substance from Russia, as well as several visits to online forums discussing suicide methods.

The Cornwall woman – who took part in the Fastnet yacht race when she was just 15 – died on March 21, 2022, while under the supervision of psychiatric hospital staff.

She was being treated in a secure ward for a personality disorder after being detained under the Mental Health Act for “specialist treatment”, The Times of London reported.

Smith told the Stockport Coroner’s Court inquest that police had determined that Matthews had personally ordered an unidentified substance and that there was no crime in her death.

Beth Matthews, 26, a British mental health blogger who committed suicide
26-year-old Beth Matthews, an avid sailor and blogger, has died after ingesting a toxin she ordered from Russia while in a psychiatric hospital.
Twitter / @BethMatthewsz

Matthews collapsed after opening the package and told the staff it contained protein powder. She suffered a cardiac arrest and was rushed to Wythenshaw Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to the report.

Smith said the woman was frequently accessing a website that contained thousands of leads discussing suicide methods, one of which involved ingesting a toxic substance that she “tried to purchase from a number of sources.” BBC reported.

David Watts, head of risk and safety at The Priory, said it was “impossible” to monitor patients’ web browsing on mobile phones – and explained that although the unit’s Wi-Fi has a firewall, patients can access some websites via connections. 4G and 5G. Which the staff can not control, said the Manchester newspaper.

Beth Matthews, 26, a British mental health blogger who committed suicide
Matthews wasn’t supposed to be able to open her private mail in the secure facility.
Twitter / @BethMatthewsz

Jurors were told, however, that Matthews should not have been able to open her own mail.

Susan Barnard, the Priory’s head of investigations, said there had been an “inconsistent approach” to the delivery of Matthews’ care plan – some staff letting her open her mail while others died for her.

She said there were “clear” instructions in the care plan that women should not open their mail.

“I found no evidence of other areas where the plan of care was not being followed,” Barnard reportedly said.

Dr Sumanta Gupta, a consultant psychiatrist at the hospital, told the inquest that he had not been informed of a claim Matthews had made to staff that it was “done by now” after a conversation about “things you can buy that do your job.”

Beth Matthews, 26, a British mental health blogger who committed suicide
The young woman broke down after opening the package and told the staff that it contained protein powder.
Twitter / @BethMatthewsz

If he had known, Gupta said, he would have launched an immediate review of her care plan.

Assistant Coroner Andrew Bridgman told the jury that Matthews “ingested a substance that came through the prism, and soon became ill.” [and] She was rushed to hospital where she unfortunately died,” The Times of London reported.

Paramedic Kate Barnes said in a statement that when she arrived, staff told her that Matthews “handed a package to the unit, opened it in front of them and was able to consume,” according to the outlet.

Barnes said she was told patients were allowed to open their mail if staff supervised them.

The Times of London reported that the inquest had heard that Matthews had suffered from mental health problems from an early age and had been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder.

Sailing Beth Matthews
Matthews competed in Fastnet yacht racing when she was just 15 years old.
Twitter / @BethMatthewsz

She was reportedly released heavily in a failed suicide attempt after jumping from a bridge in April 2019, according to the Manchester Evening News.

In a statement read during the hearing, Matthews’ mother, Jane, said her daughter was an “incredible person” who was “bright and spirited” and would “light up the lives” of everyone she came across.

Mathews was “caring, intelligent and eloquent”, loved sports and excelled at sailing.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free, confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.

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