Devoted student, 21, killed herself after wrongly being told shed failed exam

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A university student who “felt like all her dreams and aspirations” had been taken away from her because of an exam results mix-up took her own life.

Mared Foulkes, 21, of Cae Uchaf Farm, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, died on July 8 after falling from the Britannia Bridge between Anglesey and the Welsh mainland.

An inquest in Caernarfon today was told Mared had received an automated email from the university hours before her death saying that she had failed her resit exam and would not be moving on to the third year, reports North Wales Live.

One email stated that she had failed with 39% when Mared had in fact passed the exam with 62%.

But the 39% figure was for an exam she had failed on March 26 and not the re-sit exam she had taken, and passed, on April 24.

Head of School, Professor Mark Gumbleton was present at the hearing and admitted that there were "lessons always to be learned", following Mared's death, in relation to the "confusing" way students receive their results.

Iona Foulkes, Maread's mother told the inquest that she felt it was "plain and simple" that Mared's actions that day were a "direct result" of receiving the email from Cardiff University.

Mrs Foulkes said: "She received an automatic email – there was nothing personal – no phone call, nothing.

"She believed she had failed and the e-mail said she could not progress with her degree.

"She was devoted to her course and to her work in the pharmacy, she would have been horrified.

"She would have felt like all her dreams and aspirations had finished with that sentence – for a 21-year-old it's unbelievable."

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The mother-of-two said she felt that Mared’s course tutor should have contacted her personally about her results and added that parents of students should be made aware of when exam results are due.

The inquest heard how Mared had gone to work that morning having been for a run and had returned home and had dinner with her parents and brother at around 6pm.

She then told her mum she was going to Tesco to get ingredients for a cheesecake.

Shortly after leaving the house Mared drove to Britannia Bridge and was seen leaving her vehicle walking to the side of the bridge and "disappearing".

Mrs Foulkes said that her daughter hadn’t mentioned the exam results, adding that that Mared showed no signs of feeling down in the lead up to her death but had been upset by the recent death of her grandmother.

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Eyewitness Anwen Jones said Mared appeared to show "no hesitation" in her actions.

She said: "She just went up and over in a split second – there was no stopping and thinking.

"She just disappeared."

Emergency services raced to the scene but sadly Mared was pronounced dead at the scene with a postmortem later revealing that she sustained a lethal head injury in the fall.

Prior to taking her own life, Mared had texted one of her housemates to say her exam results were “crap”.

The inquest also heard how Mared had sought help from student support services prior to her death but at that time it was not believed that she posed a risk to herself or others.

Acting senior coroner Katie Sutherland concluded that Mared had intended death to be the outcome of her actions and delivered a suicide verdict.

She said: "On the morning of her death Mared had received examination results.

"One email indicated that she had not successfully completed the year.

"Mared climbed on the ledge of the bridge and was seen going off the ledge.

"She was found beneath the bridge by a walker. There is no evidence that she slipped or tripped or fell by accident. Mared had not sought any help from a GP regarding low mood and there were no suicide notes.

"She did not report suicidal thoughts when she sought assistance from student support in 2019 but did appear distressed and admitted that she was engaging in self harm.

"Evidence suggests that she put herself on the ledge and walked with determination from her car to the ledge.

"There is no clear evidence whether she jumped but I do feel she took herself off the bridge by stepping off.

"I don't consider this to be a cry for help.

"I do consider that she had the intent to end her life and will return a conclusion of suicide."

Acting senior coroner Katie Sutherland issued a Prevention of Future Deaths report as a result of the "complicated and confusing" way the university communicated exam results

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.

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