Methanol in alcohol bottle kills British backpacker

Cheznye Emmons died while on holiday in Indonesia after drinking a drink labelled as gin but turned out to be methanol. Photo / Supplied
Cheznye Emmons died while on holiday in Indonesia after drinking a drink labelled as gin but turned out to be methanol. Photo / Supplied

A British backpacker has died after drinking poisoned alcohol while trekking in the Indonesian jungle.

Cheznye Emmons died after drinking from a bottle that later turned out to be filled with deadly methanol. Reports said it was either labelled gin or whisky.

The 23-year-old had been travelling across south Asia with her boyfriend Joe Cook, 21, and a male friend they had met on their travels when they bought the tainted alcohol from a local shop in Indonesia.

Methanol is extremely poisonous and is known to cause kidney failure, blindness, seizures and death even in small doses.

All three travellers fell ill within hours of consuming the toxic substance - although Emmons soon took a turn for the worse. Within days the beauty therapist, from Essex, complained of not being able to see and was rushed to the nearest eye clinic.

After travelling for hours through the jungle to reach the nearest clinic, she was referred to a hospital in Medan, Sumatra, where she was placed in an induced coma.

On April 25, Emmons' parents, Pamela and Brenton, made the decision to turn off her life-support after flying out to be with her.

Distraught older brother Michael Emmons, 33, has spoken for the first time about how the family are coming to terms with the loss.

"From what we understand, the shop would have poured the gin out of the original bottle and then replaced it with methanol.

"As far we're aware, the shop which sold the alcohol has been shut down and there's a police investigation. The British Embassy is also looking into it.

"We just hope it doesn't get swept under the carpet like some of these things do."

Police said they were awaiting lab test results before deciding whether to open a criminal case.

Local detective Rosyid Hartanto said: "We don't know whether the drinks were mixed when they bought them at the shop, or whether they have returned to their accommodation and mixed them with other things."

- Telegraph Group Ltd with AFP

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