Tragic death of Becky Unett due to natural causes

The mother of “bubbly” 21-year-old Becky Unett has described how she desperately tried to resuscitate her dying daughter after her heart suddenly stopped at their home in Gloucester.

The former Churchdown School pupil fell unconscious for no apparent reason at her family’s home in Longlevens and could not be brought back to life.

She had complained of tiredness shortly before her death on September 1, 2012 and was also concerned about her own lack of appetite.

But doctors could give no medical explanation why her heart suddenly stopped beating and said that she was like any other normal, well-nourished woman.

Her death is believed to be due to a rare heart condition called Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS), which affects only a handful of people every year.

The condition is almost unheard of and can strike down people, including children, without warning.

Mum Beverley Unett attended her daughter’s inquest at Gloucester Coroner’s Court with Becky’s family yesterday.

In a statement about the day her daughter died, she recalled that Becky said she felt “shattered” shortly before she collapsed in her bathroom.

Mrs Unett then described how she tried to resuscitate her daughter before paramedics arrived but to no avail.

She was rushed to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital where she was pronounced dead later that evening.

Medical examinations during Becky’s autopsy showed no abnormalities in her body.

Pathologist Dr John McCarthy told the court: “Her heart, as far as I could see, showed no abnormality.

“In essence, as far as the structure of the heart is concerned, there was nothing to say what caused her heart to stop or why Becky collapsed.

“We are aware that there are a lot of processes in the heart of a chemical nature that can cause this.

“But there was nothing to indicate that she was infected.”

He continued: “Examinations have shown no specific cause of death. She was of a slim build but wasn’t poorly nourished.

“The cause of death, on the balance of probability, is therefore SADS.” A toxicology report also showed that no illicit substances were in Becky’s bloodstream at the time of her death.

She had been taking medication for stress, it was heard, and her mother was concerned about her “eating disorder”.

Mrs Unett also questioned whether, if her daughter had been offered a blood test, that it might have caught an abnormality in Becky’s health earlier.

But Dr McCarthy reiterated that there is no test that could have warned them that Becky’s heart would soon fail.

After deliberation, coroner Katy Skerrett decided that Becky died of natural causes.

“On the balance of probabilities, this is one of those horrible and tragic cases where we cannot answer the questions the family want answered even when we know there has been a cardiac event.

“Therefore, the only and correct cases must be natural causes relating to a cardiac event. Exactly why it took hold of Becky at that time we will never know.”