Amphetamine-like drug was factor in death of London Marathon runner Claire Squires

 

A hairdresser whose death during the final stages of the London Marathon led to more than £1m being donated to charity had taken an amphetamine-like drug which she had bought legally on-line, an inquest heard today.

There were calls for greater regulation of over-the counter stimulants in the wake of the tragedy last year when Claire Squires, 30, collapsed in front of horrified spectators just a mile from the finishing line in Birdcage Walk. Runners in future marathons will be warned of the possible dangers of legal stimulants as a result of the findings.

Coroner Dr Philip Barlow said the keen athlete was not a regular user of the supplement Jack3D, but that significant levels of its active ingredient, 1,3-dimethylamine (DMAA), were found within her system.

Ms Squires from North Kilworth, Leicestershire, had purchased the popular supplement legally over the internet in advance of the race and planned to take it to boost her energy when she became tired, her boyfriend told the inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court.

Jack3D was outlawed from uncontrolled sale in Britain by the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in August last year following reports of high blood pressure, stroke and even deaths among users in the United States and Australia. Experts found that it contained active agents capable of altering human physiology and ruled that it was a de facto medicine.

Describing Ms Squires as “a very dedicated and well-motivated person”, Dr Barlow said he hoped the case would highlight the dangers associated with the drug.

“She had taken a supplement containing DMAA which, on the balance of probabilities, in combination with extreme physical exertion, caused acute cardiac failure, which resulted in her death,” he said while recording a narrative verdict.

Ms Squires, who had completed the London Marathon two years previously, was described as a fit and healthy woman during the inquest.

She had aimed to beat her personal best and finish the race in less than four hours raising £500 for the Samaritans - a figure which soared to more than £1m in the wake of public sympathy over her death.

Boyfriend Simon van Herrewege said Ms Squires had been building up steadily to the race training five times per week.

He said she put a scoop of Jack3D into her water bottle and intended to use it to give her a “caffeine-like” energy boost when she “hit the wall” – a term used by marathon runners to describe the point where the body’s carbohydrate reserves are depleted and fat begins to be broken down resulting in a loss of performance and extreme fatigue.

Speaking after the inquest Mr van Herrewege said: “Claire would never ever have taken anything that would cause her harm or even worse risk her life.

“She innocently took a supplement which at the time was entirely legal and widely available on the high street and somewhat worryingly apparently used by so many others.

“It is clear that there needs to be far better supervision of the so-called health foods and supplements industry so that no more tragedies like this happen again causing other families to have to go through what we have been through this past year.”

Andrew Kicman of the drug control centre at King's College London said the powder was widely used. ”I suspect that many, many people who use supplements such as Jack3D are not aware of what the supplement is,” he said.

“It is not illegal to take it but if you are doing competitive sport it may be against the rules of the sporting association. There would be no reason for a runner in the London Marathon not to take it provided they are not an elite runner,” he added.

Paramedic Donna Tucker, who was watching the race, ran to help when she spotted Ms Squires slow, stagger and collapse.

“She appeared to have a mild seizure that lasted about five seconds,” she said. Despite receiving cardio pulmonary resuscitation at the scene she was taken to St Thomas's Hospital where she was pronounced dead an hour later.

A post mortem examination revealed an unusual amount of blood in her lungs, possibly as a result of having taken the stimulant.

Jack3D is still being sold on Amazon but the DMAA has been taken out of it, the inquest heard.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Jeremy Clarkson
people
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own