Flicker of TV set kills Nichola, 12
BY STEPHEN HULL
We told her not to get too close to TV'
A GIRL of 12 has died from an epileptic fit thought to have been brought
on by a flickering TV screen. The body of Nichola Coombs was found slumped
in the living room by her stepfather Ian Puncher. She suffocated after falling
to her knees, with her head in a flower pot, as he bent down to change a
video. Mr Puncher tried to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. 'I found her
on her knees by the TV,' said the 41-year-old, who was held up in traffic
and was home half-an-hour later than usual.
'Her head was in a flower pot and her mouth and nose were covered so she
was starved of oxygen.' His two sons, Robert and Chris. called for an ambulance
and an operator relayed first aid instructions before a 999 crew arrived.
'They were here really quickly and spent hour trying to revive her,' said
Mr Puncher. 'Then they took her into the ambulance but there was nothing
they could do.'
Nichola, from Bridport, Dorset, spoke to her mother, Maija. 50 minutes before
Mr Puncher came home She was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of seven
and suffered several minor fits while watching TV. 'Because of her epilepsy,
we told her not to get too close to the TV and just watch it from a chair,'
said Mr Puncher. 'But on this occasion, something must have caught her attention.
'She looked at it, catching a flickering light which brought the fit on.her
mother,39,said: 'Some people go into really big spasms, but Nichola only
had little shocks. We usually put her on her side and let her come out of
it in her own way. 'She touched everybody's hearts. She was mischievous but
had those eyes - butter wouldn't melt.' A funeral for Nichola, who died a