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Bristol uni suicides: Parents crowdfund inquest costs

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Natasha Abrahart took her own life after telling university staff she had suicidal thoughts

The parents of a student who killed herself have launched a crowdfunding page to cover the legal costs of her inquest.

Natasha Abrahart, 20, was a second year at Bristol University when she died.

While the university’s costs will be funded by the taxpayer, parents Margaret and Robert said they must raise up to £50,000 to fund their case.

The Abraharts said it was not a “level playing field”. The university pledgd to “co-operate fully with the coroner”.

Natasha, who died in April, is one of 11 Bristol students to take their own lives since October 2016.

‘Suicidal thoughts’

A pre-inquest review panel heard she had emailed a student administration manager in February and told her she had tried to take her own life.

Mr and Mrs Abrahart said Natasha received no well-being support despite telling staff she had experienced suicidal thoughts.

In a statement on the Crowd Justice appeal page her parents said they want to “ensure a full and fearless inquest”.

“We are determined to find out why this happened, if anything could have been done to prevent it, and whether things need to change to make students safer.”

Bereaved families do not currently receive legal aid provision for inquests unless in exceptional circumstances, and the couple claim it is not “a level playing field”.

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Eleven students have died at the university since October 2016

They said the inquest is their “one shot at finding out as much as we can about the circumstances in which our daughter died, and whether there were any failings that contributed to her death”.

Inquest – a charity that offers advice to bereaved people – said: “It is unacceptable that bereaved families are forced to crowdfund and rely on the generosity of others, while state parties have unlimited access to the best legal teams and experts paid for by the public purse.

“This inequality of arms is unjust and hinders much-needed learning from deaths.”

The couple hopes to raise an initial £10,000 for the next pre-inquest review hearing on 26 November, while the full inquest, set to last three weeks, is scheduled for May.

More than £4,000 has been raised so far.

The university said it is “committed to co-operating fully with the coroner to ensure any lessons learnt are built into the support we provide our students.”

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