Bubbly Diss girl died from complications caused by weight

A 'bubbly, outgoing' 10-year-old girl died from a range of problems triggered by her severe weight problems, an inquest heard yesterday.

Shannon Appleton-Gower was found by her stepfather, Dominic Stringer, not breathing in bed at home in Thomas Manning Road, Diss shortly before 1am on November 24.

Mr Stringer told the inquest an ambulance was called and the medical staff tried to revive her, but without any success and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

The inquest at the coroner's office in Thorpe Road, Norwich, heard she suffered from 'severe obesity' which caused sleep problems and also had learning difficulties.

Norfolk coroner William Armstrong said a post-mortem examination revealed Shannon had suffered acute cardio-respiratory failure, sleep apnoea and acute pulmonary hypertension all triggered by her weight problems.

Acute cardio-respiratory failure is a condition of the lungs causing breathing problems, while sleep apnoea causes breathing to stop for 10 seconds or more during sleep. Acute pulmonary hypertension is characterised by increased blood pressure in the pulmonary artery leading to reduced exercise tolerance and heart failure.

However, Mr Stringer said his stepdaughter led an active lifestyle, which included playing Swingball and going out on regular bicycle rides. He added she was also a member of the Brownies and had just completed three panto shows in two days with the troop.

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The inquest heard Shannon lived with her mother, Susan, older brother and stepfather and was receiving medical help for her health problems and sleep disorders.

But Mr Stringer said despite her weight problems she would regularly go out to play with the other younger children on the estate.

'She was a bubbly character and although she was overweight, she was a very active girl. She was outgoing, she was not shy in any way and I would describe her as a bubbly, bouncy little girl,' Mr Stringer said.

In recording a verdict of death by natural causes, Mr Armstrong said: 'I express my deepest sympathy to you. I am very conscious of the fact that Shannon was a very bubbly, bouncy girl who will be deeply missed. I do want to express my deepest sympathy to everyone involved.'

dominic.bareham2@archant.co.uk

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