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Sunday, 28 December 2014

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Cumbrian student, 18, died after suspected seizure - inquest

An 18-year-old student died after suffering a suspected seizure.

Ben Exley photo
Ben Exley

Ben Charles Exley, of Meadowville, High Harrington, died at home on Sunday, May 19.

An inquest into his death heard how the business and marketing student, who was studying at Northumbria University, had been out with friends and was in bed asleep when his mother, Julie Stobbart, returned home and became concerned.

“There was just something about him,” she said. “I just felt that something wasn’t right.”

Two years earlier, Ben had suffered a seizure and his mother wanted to keep an eye on him so she asked him to get up. When he did, he was sick and complained about sunlight hurting his eyes, coroner David Roberts heard. Ben said he had a migraine and went back to bed.

After checking on him later, Mrs Stobbart went in to Workington to join her husband John, who was watching rugby.

A short time later, as the couple were about to go home, Mrs Stobbart got a call from her elder son, Sean, to say something was wrong.

When Mr and Mrs Stobbart arrived home, Ben was not breathing.

A post-mortem showed no visible cause of death.

The inquest heard that, despite having asthma as a child, Ben had been in good health and had no medical conditions.

Tests after his first seizure ruled out epilepsy and he had suffered no recent health problems.

A pathologist said that, on balance, it was likely he had suffered a seizure.

His father, Colin, said Ben, who attended Ashfield infant and junior schools, Stainburn School and Workington Sixth Form Centre, did not know what job he wanted to do after university but was ambitious.

He added: “He was quite a fit young man. He really was a good young man. Everybody we talked to said what a generous and outgoing young man he was.”

Mr Roberts concluded that Ben, a volunteer for Seaton Explorer Scouts and Workington Lifeboat, died of natural causes.

He said: “It seems likely that while he has been asleep he’s had an unwitnessed seizure. We’ll never know for absolutely certain.

“He was just on the cusp of his adult life and had everything to live for. I’m sure he’d have gone on to great things.”

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