Student who fell from building ‘had severe depression’

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A STUDENT who died after falling from the ninth floor of a University of Portsmouth building was depressed. a coroner has ruled.

Final year forensic psychology student, Matthew Cole, who was 20, fell from a window in Mercantile House on January 13.

At an inquest into his death yesterday, coroner David Horsley recorded a verdict that Mr Cole took his own life while suffering from ‘severe depression’.

Detective Sergeant Gary Cable told the court he and colleagues believed Mr Cole had gone inside the ‘derelict’ building and made his way up before forcing a window open on the ninth floor.

Passers-by saw Mr Cole fall, called for help and tried to resuscitate him until emergency services arrived.

Mr Cole was pronounced dead at the scene.

His father, Alan Cole, said it was ‘quite a shock’ when officers from Sussex Police attended the family home in Bognor Regis.

‘The Christmas holiday was the last time I saw him,’ he said.

‘My wife used to text him quite a bit. The Sunday before, she texted him and there was no answer.’

Mr Cole said his son had been a keen golfer and was junior captain of a club in Littlehampton.

He said that his son had an episode of ‘feeling low’ when he was 14 and had seen a doctor about this.

The inquest was told that Mr Cole visited the university’s doctor twice in December last year saying that he was depressed.

The coroner was told by Dr Deborah Thomas, a locum at the university, that he had sat on the top of Waitrose’s three-storey supermarket car park in Southsea and had considered jumping off.

Dr Thomas said that she diagnosed him as suffering from depression and prescribed him anti-depressants and asked him to return to see her after the Christmas holidays.

‘He said he had been low really since a teenager, he couldn’t give a reason why,’ she said.

Mr Cole’s girlfriend and a housemate also gave evidence at the inquest, saying he was in a ‘good mood’ on the day before his death.

A lawyer representing the University of Portsmouth was also present at the hearing.