'Vivacious' schoolgirl, 16, died from undiagnosed heart condition day after she had been shopping for prom dress
Alex Reid never saw her GCSE results which were six A* and four A gradesThe part-time model had swam and played netball for SheffieldParents found her unresponsive in bed and she could not be revived

Steve Robson


17:30 GMT, 8 February 2013



19:03 GMT, 8 February 2013

Active: Schoolgirl Alex Reid had been a keen skier, netballer and swimmer before she died of an undiagnosed heart condition

Active: Schoolgirl Alex Reid had been a keen skier, netballer and swimmer before she died of an undiagnosed heart condition

A schoolgirl died in her sleep from an undiagnosed heard condition the day of her final GCSE exam, an inquest heard.

Alex Reid, 16, had been out shopping with her mother to buy a dress and jewellery for her school prom just hours before her death.

She baked cup cakes with her sister then went to sleep but was found dead in bed by her GP father John the next morning when she failed to rise.

The inquest at Rotherham coroner's court was told the all-girls independent Sheffield High School pupil died suddenly from undiagnosed congenital heart disease.

Her father, 52, in a statement read at the hearing said his daughter was due to take her last GCSE exam the day she was found dead.

Her results which were released after her death showed she had six A stars and four A grades.

Alex had complained of feeling fatigued in the previous few days and had been suffering from indigestion but her parents put it down to the stress of sitting the exams and her over-fondness for sweets.

Just four days before the tragedy on June 27 last year, Alex saw her own GP who felt she might have glandular fever which her boyfriend of 18 months was suffering from but it proved a false alarm and Alex was treated and seemed fine.

The teenager went to sleep and at no point during the night did she tell anyone she was unwell or get up out of bed feeling sick.

Mr Reid said he realised something was wrong when his daughter did not rise as she usually did about 6.30am and he went to her bedroom.

'She is normally an early riser and usually up at that time,' he said. 'I knocked on the bedroom door expecting her to be up but got no response. She was still in bed. I shook Alex but there was no response. She was a pale blue colour. I couldn't feel a pulse and her pupils were dilated.'

Mr Reid and his wife Heather, 51, began CPR on their daughter on the bedroom floor while Alex's sister Jennifer, 15, phoned for an ambulance.

Paramedics arrived at the family's home in Common Road, Thorpe Salvin, near Worksop, but Alex could not be revived and she was declared dead.

Her father said: 'Earlier in the week she had been her usual bright vivacious self and had been to watch her sister in the Olympic torch celebrations in Sheffield.

'She was extremely popular with her peers at Sheffield High School and was a high achiever. She did not appear to have any problems and had a positive attitude and wanted to go to Newcastle University to study medicine.'

Tragedy: Part-time model Alex Reid died before she got her GCSE results which were six A*S and four A grades

Tragedy: Part-time model Alex Reid died before she got her GCSE results which were six A*S and four A grades

The part-time model had just begun a work placement in a local hospital's orthopaedics department, something in which she wanted to specialise.

She was one of the fittest girls at her school and formerly swam for the City of Sheffield Swimming Club and played netball at county level.

A skiing accident in which she snapped her cruciate knee ligament temporarily slowed her down but she was soon back to full fitness after surgery.

The Rotherham inquest was told she had suffered in the past with heartburn and her lips turning blue in cold weather but ECG and cardiogram tests at the Sheffield's Children's Hospital in 2008 did not uncover any problems.

There was also nothing in the teenager's medical history relating to drugs, alcohol or excessive dieting. Her parents and sister were tested after her death to see if there were any family heart risk factors but nothing was found.

Pathologist Dr Marta Cohen said 'there was nothing to explain her death' but she did find Alex's right coronary artery was in an abnormal position and higher than it should have been.

She thought on the balance of probabilities the sudden death was from congenital heart disease due to ischaemia rather than an abnormal heart rhythm. She said fatty deposits had built up in the lining of the coronary artery reducing the blood supply to the heart.

Assistant deputy coroner Mark Beresford said: 'She was an intelligent, active and popular girl who enjoyed a wonderful family life and generally good health.'

He recorded a verdict of natural causes and told Alex's mum and dad: 'It's a situation which no parent should ever have to face.'

Sheffield High School headteacher Valerie Dunsford paid tribute to Alex saying: 'She was a lovely girl, always smiling who excelled at drama and sport and was well-known and liked by all who knew her. She was full of promise for a bright future.'