A Kent teenager died after inhaling the gas from deodorant he was spraying himself with, an inquest has found 16-year-old Thomas Townsend used large amounts the aerosol to clean himself rather than take showers, the Folkestone inquest was told. He died on August 29 last year at Red Lodge in Millfield, Folkestone. Staff member Lucy Banyard discovered his body on the landing outside his room at about 6.30pm. Paramedics were called but were unable to revive him. Police investigators later found 42 cans of aerosol products in his room, 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 cause of death was given as circulation collapse caused by butane gas inhalation, said pathologist Dr Kareem Aboualfa, who noted there was no drink or drugs in Thomas’s system.
Thomas had been in a foster home for five years until he moved to the children’s home in February 2015. The inquest heard that he’d found it hard to settle there, and had a history of self-harm – but had expressed no intention to take his life and showed no interest in substance abuse.
He was due to start college a few weeks after his death, having finally settled into the children’s home, and was looking forward to a career as a farrier. Recording a verdict of accidental death, Coroner Rachel Redman said: “He sprayed it [deodorant] all over himself and succumbed to the effects of the gas.”