Grief over teen’s diet pill death
Monday 16th September 2013, 9:30PM BST.
The heartbroken parents of a fit, healthy and bright teenager who died after taking a toxic quick-fix diet pill said they were “incredulous” that it is so easily available at the click of a button without any legal comeback.
Chris Mapletoft, 18, died after taking 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) a chemical used in pesticides but sold online as a quick-fix diet aid.
His mother Lesley, 52, sobbed as she said: “How many deaths does it need for somebody to say this is not acceptable?”
Holding hands with her husband David, at the family home in Twickenham, south west London, she said: “We had no idea he was taking it. We are absolutely shocked to the core that he would take the risk because he was bright. He was not reckless.
“I really find it unbelievable that with a few clicks of a button that this stuff is so widely available on the internet.
“We are both incredulous that something that is not suitable for human consumption can be sold in tablet form with no obvious legal redress.”
Chris was in the upper-sixth form at Hampton School and was a star player of the school’s rugby team. His A-level results, which came after he died in June, would have helped him towards a business course at Bath University. He hoped to become a property developer.
Chris’s parents hope his death may act as a warning to others.
Still fragile with grief and searching for answers, the couple believe Chris may have decided to “take a chance” on the drug because he wanted to have a six-pack for his post A-level celebration holiday with friends.
Chris exercised regularly and worked hard to keep fit.
Mr Mapletoft, 55, a black cab driver, said: “He was already slim, muscular and well built.
“We just think this was (for him) just another pound or two coming away from the midriff and then he would look fantastic on the beach.
“It is all speculation. We don’t 100% know that because we have no idea what he was thinking. I can’t think of another reason.”
Mrs Mapletoft said: “Our hearts go out to people who have lost loved ones due to this DNP.
“This was never about rugby. It was never about sport. I think it was all about the six-pack.”
She recalls Chris laughing and saying he and his friends were “all developing our six-packs and we would laugh with him.”
The couple, who also have a 15 year-old daughter, are coping with things “day-by-day”.
“A parent should never have to bury their child, not over something like this,” Mr Mapletoft said.
The fact that Chris “was not a stupid boy and was not a risk-taker” but a caring and modest young man with everything to live for makes this a “tragic mistake”, Mrs Mapletoft added.
“The over-riding sentiment from everybody is that they cannot believe he would have done this.”
She said “the thing is people just don’t know” whether these things are safe.
Her husband, who was with Chris when he died at home, was “traumatised” as he was unable to save his eldest child’s life.
Chris had complained of feeling ill, vomiting and feeling hot. The “horrible gasping sounds as he was struggling for breath” continue to be a painful memory, Mr Mapletoft added
The youngster died by the time the ambulance arrived. It was initially believed he had contracted meningitis and his death was treated as unexplained.
An initial post-mortem examination was inconclusive but the inquest into his death at West London Coroner’s Court on September 9, established the cause as 2, 4-dinitrophenol toxicity.
The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.
The death is the latest in a series of tragedies blamed on the poison, which interferes with the normal way the body gets energy from fat and can lead to death from overheating.