Teacher, Mom of 3, Dies After Swallowing Bag of Cocaine At Airport

A teacher and mother of three accidentally killed herself after she swallowed a small bag of cocaine at Manchester Airport in the United Kingdom, an inquest has found.

Victoria Buchanan, 42, was sipping champagne in a first-class airport lounge, waiting to fly home to Dubai after a week-long holiday in Britain, when it is believed that she realized she still had some cocaine in her possession, according to a report by the Manchester Evening News on June 4.

Instead of discarding it, Buchanan swallowed the resealable bag of cocaine, which amounted to about 60 pounds worth (about $76), and soon after collapsed and went into cardiac arrest when the bag burst in her stomach, according to the report.

She was rushed to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, but died the following day on March 30, 2018. A bag of cocaine was found in her stomach during a post-mortem. Her parents were not aware of her cocaine use.

Buchanan was originally from Kilmarnock in Scotland but had moved to Dubai in 2010 and worked as a teacher in the United Arab Emirates. She was known to have helped impoverished children in Nepal through a charity intended to improve their education.

Blood tests showed there were high levels of cocaine before Buchanan died.

“Known effects are that it can cause seizures, cardiac arrest and a number of other fatal conditions,” assistant coroner Andrew Bridge said, according to the outlet.

“Why she took such a risk will never be known but I’m satisfied it was done of her own volition and there was no coercion or threat, there was no criminal activity and no charges have been brought,” Bridge said, according to the BBC.

Buchanan had earlier bought about 200 pounds (about $254) of the drug during her holiday with her family as part of her annual trip to the United Kingdom.

Her husband, who traveled with her but had left the United Kingdom a few days earlier, told the inquest that he was aware that she would take small amounts of cocaine, and sometimes did it with her.

“If somebody had asked her to smuggle the cocaine she would have refused,” he said, according to the Manchester Evening News. “She wasn’t in a position to be blackmailed, I can say that 100 percent. I definitely didn’t ask her to bring it back.”

“I spoke to the police and we agreed it was the same bag. It originally cost about 200 pounds, and there was maybe 50 or 60 pounds worth left in it,” he told the Manchester inquest.

Jon Hopper, a doctor at Wythenshawe Hospital, said in a statement cited by the Manchester Evening News that during the incident when Buchanan collapsed, witnesses thought she was drunk, but then she started having a seizure.

An off-duty nurse then searched through her handbag and called Buchanan’s husband, who said that she had had previous reactions to palm oil and an epi-pen was in the bag. Buchanan was administered the epi-pen as it was incorrectly believed at the time that she was having an allergic reaction.

“[Buchanan] had been seen taking an epi-pen and it was confirmed by the ambulance and response team that basic life support had commenced on the scene,” Hopper wrote, according to the news outlet.

”The cardiac arrest lasted for one hour, she remained unconscious at the hospital with no response to stimulus … she reached a critical condition and her family were informed that this was a tragic and irretrievable situation,” he added.

A toxicology report read to the inquest said: “The obvious conclusion is that she ingested the bag and then collapsed from the level of cocaine which leaked into the stomach.

“The bag was large 10 x 6cm there is no other explanation as to how it got into the stomach, there is no evidence that she suffered from an allergic reaction.”

Detective Sergeant Alex Wild of Greater Manchester Police told the Manchester Evening News that CCTV showed there was “no suggestion she was approached.”

“There was no third party involvement that was the conclusion there were no charges brought or further actions taken,” he said.

Her mother, Irene Dignon, in her 70s, told the news media she did not understand why her daughter would take cocaine.

“We couldn’t understand why she would risk something for such a small amount,” she said. “There was no evidence of anything like drugs with her—she was always so anti-them.”