Oxford student with history of depression took own life

Charlotte Coursier

Charlotte Coursier

First published in thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

A PHILOSOPHY student hanged herself after splitting up with her boyfriend, an inquest heard yesterday.

Charlotte Coursier, a first-year BPhil student at St Edmund Hall, was found dead by her housemates at her home in Catherine Street, East Oxford, on June 10 last year.

The 25-year-old, who had a history of depression and had overdosed on paracetamol in her second year at Edinburgh University, had split up with her current boyfriend in London that morning, just months after having an abortion.

Less than a month earlier – on May 19 – she reported former boyfriend, Pembroke College philosophy lecturer Dr Jeffrey Ketland to the police for harrassment after she received a number of emails from him from May 7 onwards.

The inquest at Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court heard she and Dr Ketland had previously had a relationship while she was at university in Edinburgh and that police had issued him with a warning under the Harrassment Act.

In a statement read to the court, boyfriend Benjamin Fardell said Charlotte discovered she was pregnant with his child in February and decided to undergo a termination on March 25.

He said: “She was very low for weeks after this happened.

“She found it very difficult to get over murdering her child, as she put it.”

On splitting with Miss Coursier he said: “Charlotte pleaded with me not to break up with her. She was crying and told me I don’t want to live without you. I didn’t think she would actually kill herself.”

The inquest heard the cause of Miss Coursier’s death was hanging.

Police discovered she had searched online how to tie a knot before she died.

The University of Oxford confirmed that a review into Miss Coursier’s death had taken place and that Dr Ketland remained an employee.

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A university spokesman said: “A university review concluded in October. Its purpose was to inform senior members of the university of the circumstances of Charlotte’s death and to advise on any future steps. The findings of the review remain confidential, but the university is continuing to consider the most appropriate action as a consequence.”

Prof Keith Gull, Principal of St Edmund Hall, said: “Charlotte was an outstanding student, well-liked by her friends, and is still greatly missed in our college community. Her death was a tragedy for her family and friends and our thoughts continue to be with them.”

Assistant coroner for Oxfordshire Nicholas Graham recorded a verdict of suicide.

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