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Thomas Townsend, of Folkestone, died from inhaling too much deodorant, inquest hears

By Sam Lennon

A teenager died in a freak accident after inhaling the gas from deodorant he was spraying to wash himself.

Thomas Townsend, 16, would use the aerosol to clean himself rather than take showers, an inquest was told today.

Coroner Rachel Redman told the hearing: “He sprayed it all over himself and succumbed to the effects of the gas.”

Kirk sprayed his victim's eyes with deodorant. Stock image.

Thomas died at a children’s home near Folkestone, on August 29 last year.

Staff member Lucy Banyard found his body on the landing outside his room on the top floor of the home at about 6.30pm. Paramedics were called but he could not be revived.

Pathologist Dr Kareem Aboualfa said cause of death was circulation collapse caused by butane gas inhalation but there was no drink or drugs in his system.

"He would not take showers but would stand there with a deodorant and spray half the can on him" - Sally Townsend

Police who investigated examined his room and found he had hoarded a total 42 cans of products such as deodorant and hair spray, many of them empty.

His mother, Sally Townsend, said: “He would not take showers but would stand there with a deodorant and spray half the can on him. Then he would spray aftershave to cover up BO (body odour).

“He would go through a can a week. I didn’t know he had so many cans in his room but he was a big hoarder."

The inquest heard that Thomas had been in a foster home for five years until he moved to the children's home last February.

At first he had found it hard to settle and he had a history of self-harming by cutting himself.

The case was heard at Folkestone Magistrates Court

But, the hearing at Folkestone Magistrates Court was told he expressed no intention to take his life and showed no interest in substance abuse.

He finally settled into the children's home, was due to start college that September and was looking forward to a career as a farrier.

Gordon Murdoch-Shaw, area manager for the home’s owners, Ethelbert Children’s Services in Ramsgate, said that there was nothing in terms of Thomas’s background or behaviour that showed he was at risk of solvent misuse.

Mrs Redman, coroner for Central and South East Kent, recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

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