Page last updated at 19:45 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Isle of Wight woman died from eating fatal mushrooms

Kannika and Paul Tuckey
Kannika and Paul Tuckey picked the mushrooms which grew wild

A woman died after eating death cap fungi she mistook for edible mushrooms, an inquest has heard.

Amphon Tuckey, 39, was pronounced dead at her home address in Carisbrooke High Street, in Newport, Isle of Wight, in September 2008.

The Thai national, known as Juny, had eaten the mushrooms, picked at Ventnor Botanic Gardens, at the Newport home of her niece and nephew.

The coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Liver damage

Newport Coroner's Court heard that Kannika Tuckey, known as Pern, and her husband Paul Tuckey, picked the mushrooms and then invited Juny, who was married to Paul's brother Michael, to eat them.

Pern also became seriously ill with liver damage after eating a small amount of the mushrooms and spent several weeks in hospital.

She told the inquest she had been anxious about trying the mushrooms but had been reassured when her aunt ate them.

Juny had joked that if the mushrooms were poisonous then "they would both die together", she said.

The hearing heard Juny initially ate a very small amount of the mushrooms and waited for five minutes to see if they had any adverse effect.

She believed that if the mushrooms, which resembled ones she ate in her native Thailand, were poisonous they would turn the rice a different colour.

Juny then cooked the mushrooms in a herb sauce and ate most of them herself, with Pern only eating three or four.

Raw pork sausage

The inquest heard both women fell ill in the early hours of the next morning with Juny suffering severe vomiting and diarrhoea.

An ambulance was called but when Juny was asked what she had eaten she never mentioned the mushrooms and only said she had eaten a raw pork sausage - a Thai speciality.

Death cap mushroom
Death cap mushrooms contain a poison which attacks the liver and kidneys

Her GP visited the next morning and diagnosed gastroenteritis. She told him she had eaten mushrooms but that they were ones that she had eaten before.

Michael told the inquest he had warned her against eating wild mushrooms.

He said said he thought she had not told him about the mushrooms because she "knew I would be angry".

Juny's condition deteriorated and she died the next night with her husband by her side.

Toxicology tests showed she died of poisoning caused by eating the death cap mushrooms.

Isle of Wight Coroner John Matthews said it was "unfortunate" Juny had not told paramedics that she had eaten the mushrooms, but said no medical intervention could have saved her life.

"They all thought at the time she had a case of gastroenteritis and that the patient should recover," he said.

The inquest heard that half a cap of a death cap mushroom was enough to kill a human.

He said the death cap mushrooms, which are common throughout the UK, could easily have been mistaken for common field mushrooms.

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