Tributes paid to University of Portsmouth student who fell to his death

SCENE Mercantile House, in Portsmouth. Picture: Oliver Ing
SCENE Mercantile House, in Portsmouth. Picture: Oliver Ing

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A FINAL-YEAR student who died after falling from the ninth floor of a university building has been described as a ‘warm and gentle person’ by friends.

Matthew Cole, who studied forensic psychology at the University of Portsmouth, died after falling from Mercantile House in the Hampshire Terrace and Wiltshire Street area of Portsmouth on Monday.

Hampshire Constabulary has said the 20-year-old’s death is not being treated as suspicious.

Catherine Redding, president of the University of Portsmouth’s student union, paid tribute to Matthew, who is originally from Bognor Regis.

She said: ‘Matthew was a final-year forensic psychology student who has been described as a warm and gentle person.

‘He was making good progress with his studies and was well regarded by staff and students.

‘This tragedy is a shock to the student body and we send our deepest condolences to Matthew’s family and friends.’

John King, 19, a second-year student, described the news as a tragedy.

‘University is meant to be the best time of your life. It’s such a shame,’ he said.

Isabelle Moss, 21, also a student at the university, said the incident is ‘close to home’ for everyone at the university.

‘It is someone our age. It’s so sad.

‘Everyone who I have heard speaking about it says it is a tragedy,’ she said.

Thomas Needham, 22, who is in his last year of a photography degree, said he had heard Matthew was a ‘very nice guy’.

He said: ‘We’re so close to finishing. Someone said to me it is the stress of it all but everyone goes through it differently.’

Professor Graham Galbraith, vice-chancellor of the university, e-mailed students yesterday morning.

He said: ‘The university community of staff and students feel a deep sense of shock at this tragic loss of life.

‘We send our heartfelt condolences to Matthew’s family and friends who have the full support of the university at this difficult time.’

Tributes were also left on social media sites.

A counselling session was available for students and staff yesterday following the news of the death.

The coroner’s office has been informed of the death.