Coroner demands review into death of graduate

Oliver Wortley

Oliver Wortley

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Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Council Reporter, also covering Oxford city centre. Call me on 01865 425429

THE PARENTS of a young graduate who died earlier this year have paid tribute to their son after a coroner ruled he committed suicide.

Oliver Wortley, 23, was found hanging in the conservatory of his parents’ Begbroke home by his father Chris.

He was taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, but died on May 2 from asphyxiation and a brain injury.

The family’s tribute came after a coroner called for a health trust to review the circumstances surrounding his death.

The former Chipping Norton School and Oxford and Cherwell Valley College  student had graduated with a degree in fine art from Oxford Brookes University last year and had been an active campaigner with Greenpeace.

He was reported to have travelled widely and spoke multiple languages, often using his skills while serving foreign visitors at the Nosebag restaurant in Oxford, where he worked.

He leaves behind his parents Chris and Helen and younger brother Alex.

Mr and Mrs Wortley said: “Oli was always engaged in the world around him, he was committed to ideas and discussion about politics, art, religion.

“Oli was gay and was candid and courageous about it, although typically he didn’t fit neatly into any preconceptions about what that means.

“Although his early departure leaves us bereft, we take comfort from the many tributes paid by those who knew him, we take pride in what he achieved whilst battling mental illness and hope that if we can ever overcome our grief we will feel blessed to have had him with us for as long as we did.”

Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter has said he will write to Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust asking for a review into Oliver’s death.

When Mr Wortley found his son at 2am on April 26, it was less than two hours after Oliver had called a mental health nurse at the trust to say he was feeling suicidal.

At the inquest last Tuesday, Mr Salter raised concerns that the nurse had not known whether she could alert his parents, who were asleep at home.

He has called for the trust to investigate whether it can be made more clear if there is “a supportive family background” in future cases.

Mr Salter said: “It seems to me that this is the sort of case where if that had been clear, an action plan could have involved a call to the next of kin at that point in time.”

 Mr Wortley added: “As was evident at the hearing, issues around communication and consent clearly contributed to our son’s death.

 “If we had been kept more up-to-date about the deterioration of his condition, I believe we might have been more alert.

 “If this tragedy helps to bring about a change for the better, so that families are kept fully in the picture, then we can at least take some consolation.”

  • Coroner’s verdict: suicide

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