A student found deceased in Hartley Grove halls committed suicide, an inquest has heard.
MEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering student Alexander Ukwu, from Nigeria, was found on 23rd April this year after maintenance workers entered his room to change the shower head. The University had carried out a welfare check on Alexander in early April as he was staying in Halls over the Easter holidays, where he seemed well.
His flatmate claims Alexander ‘kept himself to himself’ and he hadn’t seen him for about two weeks. When maintainance workers asked his flatmate to check on him, Alexander was seen lying on the floor next to helium canisters.
There was also a delivery note addressed to Alexander and a handwritten note partly in another language. A section of the note read: ‘Love you so so so much, see you soon.’
The student’s uncle, Elekwachi Ukwu told the Winchester inquest that he had ‘not heard from Alexander in a while,’ and so went to the university campus to look for him. He had called him and sent him messages, which Alexander initially responded to, but when the responses stopped, he became concerned.
The inquest found that his death was caused by asphyxiation. A consultant histopathologist at Southampton General Hospital, Dr. Vipul Foria, claimed Alexander’s body had begun to decompose, so it is likely he died a number of days before being found.
Senior coroner for central Hampshire Grahame Short said:
It’s not possible for me to say why he took this action. He may have been struggling with the course and been reluctant to share his problems with others. I think his isolation in a foreign country may have been another factor.
A University of Southampton spokesperson has said;
Alexander was a valued member of our student community and our thoughts and sympathies continue to be with his family and friends.
This tragedy comes only months after another student committed suicide by jumping from the roof of his halls in the city centre.
Sam Bailey, Vice-President Welfare said
There’s lots of information on the support available at www.susu.org/support, ranging from the SUSU Advice Centre, Nightline and Peer Support to the university run Enabling Services and First Support, a dedicated crisis team. It’s really important to talk about the things going on in your life or how you feel, whether it’s a friend or someone from one of the support services available.
The University and the Students’ Union both offer support for those struggling with depression, and stress, among other issues. Please contact The Advice Centre, Nightline, Peer Support, the enabling service, or Student Minds for more details.