Uni student killed himself with poison gas in a tent

Andrew Kirkman

Andrew Kirkman

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

AN OXFORD University student left a note for police warning them his tent was filled with lethal gas, an inquest heard yesterday.

Andrew Kirkman, 20, a physics and philosophy student at Balliol College, took his own life in a tent on Port Meadow three days after his birthday.

Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court heard he had been due to fly to Brazil to meet his girlfriend the following day.

Yesterday, the second year student’s parents, who attended the inquest, paid tribute to an “amazing young man”, who was a “force for good in his community”.

Investigating officer, Pc Alex Locke, was called to the scene by a father and his 11-year-old son who discovered Mr Kirkman’s body while walking in Port Meadow on Sunday, December 8.

In a statement read to the inquest, Pc Locke said: “Around 15 metres from the tent I found a note, made of two pieces of paper stuck together with tape.”

The note said: “To police, this is a suicide attempt ...you should not open the tent without protective gear.”

Paramedics were called to the scene but Mr Kirkman was pronounced dead.

It emerged yesterday that Mr Kirkman, originally from Northwood, Greater London, told his Oxford GP he was suffering from depression, but refused to tell his parents or counsellors.

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Dr Christopher Kenyon of Beaumont Street GP practice, said he had prescribed Mr Kirkman anti-depressants, but had not told anyone else about the condition.

Mr Kirkman had told his girlfriend a year before that he had considered committing suicide in a park, but did not say how.

In a statement, his parents, Wendy and Mike Kirkman, said: “Andrew was an amazing young man.

“He spent an inordinate amount of time assisting others and was a force for good in every community he was involved in.

“The attendance at his funeral of more than 250 souls is a testament to how many lives he touched in his 20 years among us.”

Mrs Kirkman also said at the inquest: “When I look at his pattern of behaviour it is clear Andrew’s mood was very variable.

“He was deliberately hiding his intentions.

“Trained mental health professionals could have provided more guidance.”

Coroner Darren Salter ruled that Mr Kirkman had taken his own life.

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