Student, 22, took his own life after he was accused of plagiarism

Portsmouth university student, 22, took his own life after he was accused of plagiarism for his final dissertation, inquest hears

  • Alistair Hall was found dead in his student halls in Portsmouth on June 27, 2020
  • Mr Hall, 22, suffered from a heart arrhythmia having taken an overdose of a drug
  • He took his life after he was accused of plagiarism for dissertation, inquest heard
  • For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See www.samaritans.org for details

A ‘kind and dedicated’ University of Portsmouth radiography student took his own life after he was accused of plagiarism for his final dissertation, an inquest has heard.

Alistair Hall, 22, was found dead in his room in his student halls at Unite Chaucer House in Portsmouth, Hampshire, on June 27, 2020.

He had suffered a heart arrhythmia having taken an overdose of a drug that he had ordered on the internet, Portsmouth Coroner’s Court heard.

A month before his death, Mr Hall had been told that his dissertation would receive a zero mark because it was considered to have plagiarised an example work given for his course.

Despite this, the inquest heard the ‘dedicated’ student still would have graduated due to his previous grades. He was posthumously awarded a 2.1 degree in diagnostic radiography.

Alistair Hall, 22, was found dead in his room in his student halls at Unite Chaucer House (pictured) in Portsmouth, Hampshire, after taking an overdose on June 27, 2020

His future employers would also not have been actively informed about the ruling, the hearing was told.

A note that was found on his computer said ‘things went wrong one too many times’.

It referred to a previous suicide attempt, when he was having problems with his A-levels, and his birth mother, who died when he was 18 months old. 

Recording a verdict of suicide, coroner Christopher Wilkinson said: ‘He was a very special young man to his family, a very cherished son, someone who was polite, kind, gentle, sensitive, respectful and dedicated.

‘It appears he had applied himself to his studies, he had ambitions in his life which he was looking to develop, both academically, personal and professional.

A month before his death, Mr Hall was told his dissertation would receive a zero mark because it was considered to have been plagiarised, Portsmouth Coroner’s Court (pictured) heard

‘It’s reflected in his posthumous degree the work that he had put into that three-year degree where he was a credit to the university.’

Mr Wilkinson said that he believed the plagiarism accusation had contributed to his personal struggles in ‘finding his place in the world’.

He added: ‘In the end, those underlying feelings which had never left Alistair came to the fore as well as the more acute pressures of the dissertation.

‘While I do not believe that was the sole reason, I can only believe it had an impact on his way of thinking.’

In a statement read to the hearing, his family said: ‘Alistair was very special to all of us, a miracle IVF baby, so-wanted, and a beautiful gift to us.

‘Tragically his birth mother died when he was 18 months old. He was a happy boy, bright, kind, gentle and respectful.’

For confidential support, call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See www.samaritans.org for details. 

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