THE college warden on duty when law student Nuno Cardoso was arrested and later died in police custody claims he was forced out of his job following the incident.

Kieron Winters, who worked at Ruskin College for 13 years, has claimed he was frequently the only warden on duty to oversee students' safety on the entire campus where Mr Cardoso lived, which he says left him and students at risk.

He says it was 'down to luck' he was not the only staff member working that night and alleges efforts were made to falsify records after the 25-year-old's death in November 2017.

He said: "[They] wanted us to create logs to show that two staff members were on duty at all times on every night."

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Mr Winters added: "I was not happy with this but there was a great deal of fear and job insecurity amongst staff at this time, so I felt in no position to argue.

"The fact was it was simply not true that two members of staff were on duty at night."

The college has completely denied all allegations, adding any suggestion records were falsified is 'categorically not the case'.


Kieron Winters.

Mr Winters was suspended in January 2018 and fired two months later over student complaints which he maintains were 'flimsy'.

Because his accommodation was provided on campus as part of his job, he was left homeless and said he was already dealing with 'psychological trauma' following Mr Cardoso's death.

Mr Winters said: "I strongly believe that I was suspended from my job without good reason, my employment terminated and put into a position where I had no choice but to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) because the college leadership did not want me to publicly reveal the truth concerning the student death incident."

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Such NDAs or 'hush agreements' have been condemned internationally in recent years after reportedly being used by powerful businesses and individuals including Sir Philip Green, Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump to silence employees making allegations against them.

Last month the government announced new legislation to 'stamp out misuse' of NDAs and 'tackle unacceptable workplace cultures'.

Mr Winters claims after the sudden death of Ruskin Principal Chris Wilkes in 2016 the college went through a 'tumultuous period' and that the culture 'radically changed' to focus on younger students.

He said: "In my view, the sudden decrease within a short space of time in the average student age has led to a surge in disorderly behaviour, drunkenness and drug taking on campus, which, as resident warden I have had to deal with on my own."


Nuno Cardoso

The Headington resident recounted several incidents in the run-up to Mr Cardoso's attack on two students which he faced alone.

They included a pair of women throwing glass bottles at each other at 2am and the discovery a student had a samurai sword in his room and had been carrying it around.

Mr Winters said despite these cases and management acknowledging there was a 'student drug problem', he did not receive training to handle situations alone.

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He said there had also been an 'unprecedented' high staff turnover, with very few long-term employees remaining.

This month the entire social work department of Ruskin College resigned after four tutors were made redundant.

Ruskin College's University College Union (UCU) described the situation as ‘continued mismanagement and chaos'.


Kieron Winters, left, helping to move Ruskin College out of Walton Street in 2012. Picture: Damian Halliwell

A statement from the college said: "Ruskin College completely refutes the allegations and wishes to make it clear that all allegations of this nature are considered extremely seriously and investigated in accordance with our policies and procedures.

"These include safeguarding and lone working arrangements."

It added all staff were 'fully trained regularly' on safeguarding, as well as health and safety, stating the college had 'robust procedures'.

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The statement went on: "This particular individual had many years’ service with the college and regularly took part in all the college’s training and development activities.

"This matter was fully investigated in line with our policies and there were no issues that arose as a result of that investigation.


Ruskin College. Picture: Google Maps

"As such, the college complied with its legal obligations and best practice both in relation to safeguarding obligations and generally."

It added: "It is categorically not the case that any employee was instructed to falsify any records.

"Ultimately, this individual left the college after another matter was fully investigated."

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The college said it was 'unable to comment further' on Mr Winter's departure because it was was subject to a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

A jury inquest was held into Mr Cardoso's death at Oxford Coroner’s Court last month. It concluded police had used 'reasonable, necessary and proportionate force' on the Angola-born student, who went into cardiac arrest while in the back of a police van being transported to Abingdon Police Station.

His cause of death was cardio-respiratory arrest caused by intoxication from alcohol, cocaine and morphine.