Teenager with learning difficulties choked to death on plastic nappy bag, inquest told

A Wigan teen with severe learning difficulties choked to death after swallowing several nappy sacks.
Bolton Coroners CourtBolton Coroners Court
Bolton Coroners Court

Tragic Chloe Linton, 16, had ingested at least six small plastic bags when one became lodged in her airway, an inquest heard.

The 16-year-old had tried to eat them because she suffered from a psychological disorder which compelled her to put non-edible items in her mouth.

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During an emotional Bolton inquest, assistant coroner Rachel Galloway heard evidence from Chloe’s mother Elizabeth, as well as medical professionals who knew the tragic Atherton teenager during her short life.

The inquest heard she had been diagnosed with autism and ADHD as a young child. As she grew up, she was identified as having a high pain threshold and “no sense of danger” by doctors.

She was fully dependent on her parents Marc Linton and Elizabeth Manniex, and mum would later give up her job to become a full time carer to her beloved daughter.

Despite being non-verbal, Chloe was able to express emotions, and was described as “an amazing, funny girl.”

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The hearing was told of her common behaviours, such as liking to wander between rooms at home and “Pica”, more commonly known as “mouthing.” This latter disorder had led to her being taken to hospital on previous occasions, having swallowed batteries and a soft drink bottle lid, but she would always let her mum know when she had put something in her mouth.

But tragedy unfolded last September at the family home. Chloe had been watching television together with her mum and younger brother Daniel before she left the room and went upstairs.

After noticing she had gone quiet around 4.20pm, Mrs Manniex asked Daniel to go and check on his sister. He found her lying on the floor in her bedroom - which was not uncommon for her to do - and told his mother she was asleep.

But later in the evening, when Mrs Manniex went to check on Chloe herself, she discovered her unresponsive. She found one of the small black plastic bags beside her, and immediately called 999.

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Mrs Manniex explained that some of the bags were stored in the bathroom, and some on the stairs, but she could not be sure where Chloe had got them from.

Despite attempting resuscitation for more than an hour, emergency services were unable to revive Chloe and she died at Royal Bolton Hospital.

She was described as a popular student at Hindley’s specialist Oakfield High where she had recently been made deputy head girl.

In a heartbreaking statement read out in the court, Mrs Manniex said: “Her death has broken our hearts, but we have 16 years of amazing, wonderful memories that will stay with us forever.”

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Findings of a post-mortem examination were “consistent with airway obstruction,” the inquest was told.

Recording a verdict of death by misadventure, Ms Galloway absolved Mrs Manniex of any blame for this incident.

She described her and Mr Linton as an “excellent mother and father”, and said it was clear that Chloe was a “very well cared for 16-year-old.”