Tributes to student, 20, found dead in a tent

Oxford Mail: Andrew Kirkman Andrew Kirkman

THE Oxford University student who was found dead in a tent in Port Meadow has been described as a kind young man who took great pleasure in helping people.

Andrew Kirkman, 20, was a second year undergraduate at Balliol College, part of the University of Oxford, and was studying physics and philosophy.

His body was discovered in a tent in the Oxford meadow – thought to be filled with a chemical – at about 12.30pm on Sunday by a member of the public.

Police said the chemical involved was likely to be hydrogen sulphide.

Six people were treated at the scene by paramedics and Port Meadow was closed by police as specialist chemical hazard teams made the area safe.

Police are treating Mr Kirkman’s death as unexplained, but have said it was not suspicious.

A coroner will determine the cause of the death but an inquest has not yet opened.

Last night, Andrew’s parents, Michael and Wendy Kirkman, said: “Andy was loved by everyone who knew him.

“He was a kind young man who took great pleasure in helping other people. He will be sorely missed.

“We ask for the privacy of his family to be respected.”

Sir Drummond Bone, Master of Balliol College, said: “It is with deep sadness that we can confirm that Andrew Kirkman, a second year undergraduate at Balliol College reading Physics and Philosophy, died on Sunday on Port Meadow.

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“Our thoughts and condolences go out to Andrew’s parents and his family and close friends at this extremely difficult time.

“Andrew was a friendly and thoughtful student and a valued contributor to the life of the college.

“We are offering support and counselling to all those at the college who have been affected by this tragedy.”

In February this year, Mr Kirkman was among several Oxford students to meet Professor Brian Cox when he attended the Snell Dinner at Balliol College.

Mr Kirkman’s Facebook page includes an image of the Earth taken from space, while, on his Twitter account, he describes himself by saying: “I like interesting things and I am colour blind.”

Supt Steve Hockin, of Thames Valley Police, said on Sunday: “Early indications are that the chemical involved is hydrogen sulphide.”

The Oxford Mail asked police if the death was being treated as suicide and what items were removed from the scene, but the force refused to comment.

Port Meadow, which is run by Oxford City Council, is a popular haunt for birdwatchers and the meadow and Wolvercote Common are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The Freemen of Oxford have grazing rights on the meadow, which was reopened to the public by police on Sunday night.

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