Teenager dies after 'eating too much gum'

·3-min read

A heartbroken mother has told of her horror after her daughter was killed by eating too much chewing gum.

Samantha Jenkins, 19, died 10 years ago after complaining about an upset stomach which she blamed on a bottle of fizzy drink.

But when her devastated family searched her bedroom in Felinfoel, south Wales they found dozens of chewing gum wrappers and boxes.

An autopsy revealed "four or five bright green lumps" which turned out to be gum and a coroner ruled that it could have played a part in Samantha's death.

Now 10 years since Samantha's death, her heartbroken mum Maria Morgan has recalled the horrifying incident and paid tribute to her "bubbly, vivacious, fun loving" daughter.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," she said.

Samantha Jenkins was known to chew large amounts of gum. Source: Wales News Service/ Australscope
Samantha Jenkins was known to chew large amounts of gum. Source: Wales News Service/ Australscope

"I was making tea in the kitchen and there was just normal banter around the table. She continued to say she didn't feel well. I said, 'You have been out in the sun, come and drink some water, it's been boiling today, you're probably just a bit dehydrated.'

"I told her to go and have a lay on the bed and take a bottle of water with her as she probably had too much sun. Then I heard this thud.

"Me and my other daughter got up and went to the door and I said, 'What the hell was that?' And she shouted downstairs, 'Is this what it's like to die?' and then we heard a thud again."

Samantha was found having a fit and was rushed to hospital where she was put into an induced coma.

“We were basically told as far as they could see that something had poisoned her. It was just about trying to fathom out what it was so they could possibly save her.

“One day, my other daughter mentioned that Samantha used to chew chewing gum, so I mentioned that to the coroner’s office because she did used to chew gum a lot.

When Samantha’s devastated family searched her bedroom they found dozens of chewing gum wrappers and boxes. Source: Wales News Service
When Samantha’s devastated family searched her bedroom they found dozens of chewing gum wrappers and boxes. Source: Wales News Service

“Me and my daughter went into her bedroom and just emptied everything and went through everything in her bedroom to see if I could find something.

“Every bag that she had and every drawer in her bedroom there were chewing gum wrappers, empty chewing gum boxes.

“I couldn’t have told you how much she chewed, but I could say what I found - evidence that she was chewing them every day and was buying at least a packet a day on the way to work, sometimes two packets.”

When Maria researched the gum she was horrified to discover that it contains aspartame and sorbitol which causes the body’s salts to drop drastically.

“The coroner wouldn’t put down that it was definitely from chewing gum, but aided from chewing gum," she said.

“10 years on there are so many ‘whys’ for me, but the biggest why is why on earth have I lost my daughter to chewing gum? I mean chewing gum, come on, it’s ridiculous.

“I still can’t get my head around it. She was such a loss. Bubbly, vivacious, fun loving, wouldn’t harm a fly.” 

– Wales News Service

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