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Inquest hears how Samuel Thornton of Penryn was 'locked into another reality' after rave

By WBCraig  |  Posted: January 31, 2014

A MAN who died after attending a rave on his twentieth birthday appeared to be "locked into another reality" as he was restrained by police officers, an inquest heard today.

Tyre fitter Samuel Thornton, from Falmouth, died on October 10, 2010, after attending a legal party at Kernick Industrial Estate in Penryn.

Statements from police read out at the inquest today said Mr Thornton was "babbling," sweating profusely, grinding his teeth and appeared to be hallucinating when they arrived at the scene at 5am.

PC Paul Shimmen, from Falmouth police station, arrived after paramedics called for assistance as Mr Thornton was "thrashing out" in an aggressive way and they were unable to treat him.

PC Shimmen's statement said: "He had wild staring eyes and I was certain he was hallucinating. He appeared to be locked into another reality."

He said he was kicking his legs and kept sitting bolt upright involuntarily.

He added that he had an unnatural strength and was agitated.

Paramedic Chris Rogers, who attended the scene, said police constraints were applied to prevent harm to himself and others and were according to protocol.

Mr Thornton was restrained with handcuffs around his wrist.

His legs were also restrained above his ankles and knees in the ambulance.

PC Paul Kelly, from Falmouth police station, who attended the hospital, said he believed the restraints were "necessary" and "proportional."

Toxicology reports showed evidence of MDMA – the main component of ecstacy – in his body.

Giving evidence to the inquest by telephone, consultant in clinical chemistry Dr Steven Morely told the inquest that Mr Thornton's symptoms described by PC Shimmen we're consistent with him being under the influence of stimulants.

He said: "The most likely cause of death would be epileptic seizure, abnormal heart rhythm or hyperthermia - the body becomes too hot."

He added that he believed that Mr Thornton's symptoms were a result of taking an excess of MDMA and added that the levels of MDMA in Mr Thornton’s body were the “highest on record.”

James Edwards, a friend of Mr Thornton, said he and 'Skinny', as he was known, had shared two grams of MDMA with four other friends but added: "I don't know how much drugs Skinny had taken that night."

He said that Mr Thornton started having 'fits' at around 5am outside the rave.

"I have never seen him like that," he said. "It was so horrible to see him reacting like that."

Mr Thornton arrived at Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro at 6:23am.

Accident and emergency consultant Dr Toby Slade said the handcuffs were removed at 7:10 as he suffered another seizure.

Dr Daniel Henning, emergency medical surgeon, said Mr Thornton's temperature was 44 degrees Celsius at around 8am.

He suffered a cardiac arrest 30 minutes before being pronounced dead at 9:45am.

Dr Henning said he believed the cause of death was malignant hyperthermia, or overheating, as a result of MDMA ingestion.

Cornwall coroner Emma Carlyon said the cause of death was “MDMA use”, adding: "He died as a result of an accident."

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