A mother-of-three has died after swallowing a bag of cocaine in a first class airport lounge.
42-year-old British expat Victoria Buchanan, who worked as a teacher in the United Arab Emirates, had reportedly obtained £200 worth of cocaine while on an annual family visit to the UK with her husband.
Victoria had been drinking a glass of champagne after check-in at Manchester Airport, waiting for her return flight to Dubai, when she realised she still had approximately £60 worth of the drug left.
It was then that Victoria made the decision to swallow a bag containing the cocaine, hoping to get it back to her home in Dubai. Moments later, the bag burst inside her stomach, leading to her collapsing with a severe seizure.
Onlookers at Manchester Airport initially thought she had suffered from anaphylactic shock, administering an EpiPen she had kept in her handbag for a palm oil allergy.
Victoria passed away at Wythenshawe Hospital the following day, with the burst bag of cocaine being discovered during a post-mortem.
Dr Jon Hopper of Wythenshawe Hospital said:
Miss Buchanan was brought by the ambulance at 2.34pm following a cardiac arrest at Manchester Airport. She had been seen taking an epipen and it was confirmed by the ambulance and response team that basic life support had commenced on the scene.
The cardiac arrest lasted for one hour she remained unconscious at the hospital with no response to stimulus, she had a recorded allergy to palm oil but she previously required an admission, she reached a critical condition and her family were informed that this was a tragic and irretrievable situation.
Assistant coroner Andrew Bridge recorded a conclusion of ‘death by misadventure’, stating:
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.
I have no understanding of why Victoria would wish to have smuggled cocaine or why she would take the risks of doing so my conclusion of how she came by her death is one of misadventure.
I give you my sympathies for the sad loss of your wife and your daughter – my question is what on earth was she thinking?
Her husband Mark, a shipping company boss, made the following comments at the Manchester hearing:
We were aware she would take small amounts of cocaine occasionally and it was something we did together, I had left the UK a few days before not a lot was left not that that matters now.
If somebody had asked her to smuggle the cocaine she would have refused she wasn’t in a position to be blackmailed I can say that 100 per cent, it wasn’t the intention.
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 and there was maybe £50 or £60 left in it.
Victoria’s parents, James and Irene Dignon, reportedly had no idea about their daughter’s drug use, with her mother describing her as being ‘always so upbeat’.
Originally from Kilmarnock, Scotland, Victoria moved to Dubai in 2010 where she worked as a teacher.
Victoria was known for having helped impoverished children in Nepal through a charity focused on improving their opportunities for education.
Our thoughts are with the family of Victoria Buchanan at this difficult time.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.