A father died of a massive caffeine overdose after eating mints containing high levels of the stimulant, an inquest heard.
John Jackson, aged 40, was found dead at his home by his estranged wife Michelle and his stepdaughter on May 2.
Just one of the sweets favoured by Mr Jackson – Hero Mints – is said to contain more caffeine than a can of a high-energy drink such as Red Bull.
Stepdaughters Amanda and Rebecca Court told an inquest at Walsall Manor Hospital that Mr Jackson was also an excessive drinker.
Senior coroner Robin Balmain is writing to Department of Health about Mr Jackson’s case to warn of the potential dangers of high caffeine levels in the energy sweets.
Giving evidence pathologist Dr Dragana Cvijan said a post mortem showed Mr Jackson had cirrhosis of the liver and that 155 milligrammes of caffeine was in his system. Deaths have been recorded at 79 milligrammes.
Dr Cvijan told the hearing: “To my surprise the immediate cause of death was not cirrhosis, but through caffeine overdose. The post mortem showed other drug traces, but not enough for the final outcome.
“I am sure this is the first time in my experience we have come across what was literally a caffeine overdose. It was confirmed by experts in this field. The amount found was really excessive and entirely in keeping with death due to excess caffeine in the blood.
“If the liver was not functioning properly that would contribute to the final outcome,” she added.
Amanda Court, aged 27, told the hearing: “He used to eat Hero Mints, an instant energy sweet. On the pack it says it contains caffeine. He went mad on mints and used to buy all sorts of them several packets at a time.”
Mr Balmain concluded that former painter and decorator Mr Jackson, who was found dead at his home in Walsall Road, Darlaston, had died as a result of an accident.
Mr Balmain said: “I didn’t know about these sweets. If he drank Red Bull, he wouldn’t have been consuming lots and lots of them.
“It seems to me to be something the authorities need to know about. It is up to them to take any action. This is potentially a dangerous situation. I am as certain as I can be that Mr Jackson did not know he was exposing himself to danger.”
Family of mint overdose victim call for change - See today's Express & Star