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TRIBUTES AS TEEN DIES OF EPILEPSY.

Byline: Steve Bradley

AFFECTIONATE tributes have been paid to a 14-year-old Birmingham schoolgirl after an inquest heard she died of epilepsy.

Theonie Amarnie Pope, a pupil at Great Barr School, was found lying motionless on her brother's sofa in August and was pronounced dead at Walsall Manor Hospital, Black Country coroner Robin Balmain was told.

The youngster, of Tame Road, Witton, had been on a visit to her brother Ashley, 24, when tragedy struck.

A post mortem by Dr Martyn Casey, consultant neuropathologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, ruled that Theonie had been victim of "sudden unexpected death in epilepsy" caused by a form of dysplasia - a disorientation of nerve cells in her brain.

The dysplasia made her epilepsy more difficult to control, Dr Casey told the coroner. The inquest heard that Theonie had started having seizures when she was seven or eight and was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2008.

Dr Casey said: "It was quite well controlled with drugs until the beginning of this year when the seizures became more frequent." He added that a subsequent MRI scan had shown no major abnormalities and she had got on with her life. He added: "She was found lying on the sofa, unresponsive.

"She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead."

Mr Balmain said: "This is very sad. This is a natural cause of death even though Theonie was very young."

Theonie's mother Anne, 45, a health care assistant, said after the inquest: "She loved drama, music and did love reading books. The epilepsy was getting quite bad but you never expect this."

Claudia Pope, the youngster's aunt, added that hundreds of mourners had attended her funeral at the Kingdom Hall in Witton Road in September.

A spokesman for Great Barr School said: "Theonie was a hard-working and enthusiastic student - greatly admired by fellow pupils and staff alike.

"Despite her condition she always did her very best to attend and participate in all activities. This was a huge loss to the school and the impact on all who knew her was considerable.

"Students and staff have contributed towards a memorial bench which will be put in the school grounds in Theonie's memory."

CAPTION(S):

Grieving: Anne Pope and her daughter Theonie, who died at just 14.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 24, 2011
Words:379
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