Bristol student becomes the third in three weeks to die suddenly

Bristol student becomes the third in three weeks to die suddenly amid fears at least nine studying in the city have taken their own lives in just two years

  • University of Bristol first-year English student Ben Murray died last Saturday
  • There are said to be no suspicious circumstances, with an inquest due to be held 
  • Student Natasha Abrahart, 20, died on April 30, and Alex Elsmore, 23, on April 21
  • Before those three deaths, nine Bristol students ‘took their own life’ in two years
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A young student has died ‘suddenly and unexpectedly’ in what is the third case of its kind in just three weeks at the University of Bristol.

Ben Murray, a first-year English student at the university, died last Saturday and there are said to be no suspicious circumstances, with an inquest now due to be held.

It follows the death of second-year physics student Natasha Abrahart, 20, on April 30, and fourth-year electrical and engineering student Alex Elsmore, 23, on April 21. 

Second-year physics student Natasha Abrahart (left), 20, died on April 30, and fourth-year electrical and engineering student Alex Elsmore (right), 23, died on April 21

The university said the news would be ‘particularly distressing’ for Mr Murray’s friends and insisted it was doing everything it could to support those affected.

Before the latest three deaths over the past three weeks, seven University of Bristol students were believed to have taken their own life since October 2016.

A further two students from the city’s other university, University of West England, are also believed to have died in the same way over the same period.

A University of Bristol spokesman said today: ‘It is with great sadness that we confirm the sudden and unexpected death of first year English student Ben Murray.

‘Ben passed away on Saturday, May 5. There are no suspicious circumstances around his death, and an inquest will be held by the coroner in due course. We have spoken with Ben’s family who our thoughts are with. 

‘We work hard every day to keep our students safe and secure and to provide an environment and support network where they can thrive and grow. When we hear the news of a student death it hits us all very hard. 

‘It will be particularly distressing for those who knew Ben. This is the third death in a short period of time and the university is doing everything we can, with the support of partner agencies, to support all those affected by this news.’

The university is urging students or staff affected to speak with its mental health team.

The spokesman added: ‘Shock and sadness are entirely normal and understandable responses, and we would encourage any of our students and staff who are affected to contact university well-being services for help as well as seek support from friends or family.

‘Information about the support available can be found on our website under our staff and student pages. We know this can be a particularly stressful time of year with exams coming up and would encourage our students to make use of the advice and support available to help with this.’ 

Previous inquests into the deaths of the students found none of them were linked.

But the University of Bristol has been undergoing a review of its student health services, putting some £1million into its mental health and wellbeing provision.

The Samaritans charity has raised concerns at the potential impact of news of deaths in Bristol and has urged anyone affected to contact them if they wish.

For confidential support in the UK, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See for details.

How 10 university students are believed to have taken their own life in Bristol in less than two years

ALEX ESMORE (University of Bristol) – April 21, 2018

The 23-year-old electrical and engineering student from Liverpool is feared to have taken his own life after falling from Clifton Suspension Bridge.

The undergraduate, whose father is Guy, 52, the Archdeacon of Buckingham in the Diocese of Oxford, is originally from Liverpool and had four siblings.

JUSTIN CHENG (University of Bristol) – January 12, 2018

The law student from Canada, who was in the third year of his degree, is believed by police to have taken his own life.

The university said the news was ‘immensely distressing’, adding that their ‘thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends’.

SAM SYMONDS (University of West England) – May 1, 2017

The 19-year-old student, who was described as ‘so lovely’, was found dead after his friends raised the alarm when he had not been seen.

His girlfriend and flatmate came home from work to find police at the flat, who told her that he had killed himself. A post mortem found he died from hanging.

RAVEN HUNT (University of West England) – April 13, 2017

The 21-year-old sociology student, who had a history of anxiety, was found dead in woods – and her family later spoke of their devastation.

Her mother Emmy Hunt, who has three other children, said she is now on anti-depressants and gets panic attacks following the death.

Sam Symonds (left), 19, and Raven Hunt (right), 21, were both students in Bristol

ELSA SCABURRI (University of Bristol) – March 20, 2017

Miss Scaburri, a 21-year-old student, had been suffering with depression when she was found hanged in a barn after leaving a note on her bed.

The modern languages student was said to have gone ‘downhill’ quickly during a year abroad in Italy and came back to Britain to be with her mother. 

LARA NOSIRU (University of Bristol) – January 30, 2017

The 23-year-old student from Essex took a large number of sleeping tablets and some LSD before jumping off Clifton Suspension Bridge in the city. 

Elsa Scaburri (left), 21, and Lara Nosiru (right), 23, are also Bristol students who died

KIM LONG (University of Bristol) – November 10, 2016

The 18-year-old law student was just starting his first term at the university but was found dead in his halls of residence after leaving a note for his parents.

Mr Long was described as a ‘highly intelligent’ young man with ‘a sense of humour’ by his parents, and had not shown any signs of depression. 

JAMES THOMSON (University of Bristol) – October 25, 2016

The 20-year-old maths student had been battling depression for about 18 months before his body was found by a friend in his bedroom.

During an inquest, his parents questioned why the university did not do more to get in touch with them when they found he was suffering from depression.

Law student Kim Long (left), 18, and James Thomson (right), 20, were both found dead

DANIEL GREEN (University of Bristol) – October 21, 2016

The 18-year-old history fresher, who lost his mother aged two to cancer, was found hanging in his room at university.

An inquest was told he had started talking about starting counselling services, but had been in ‘good spirits’ just two days before his death.  

MIRANDA WILLIAMS (University of Bristol) – October 13, 2016

The 19-year-old philosophy student from Chichester had struggled with anxiety and depression, and took her own life with a drug overdose.

She was only in her first term at the university, and was praised by her mother as ‘an amazing young woman’ with a ‘wonderful circle of friends’.

Philosophy student Miranda Williams, 19, had struggled with anxiety and depression

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