University of Portsmouth student died by suicide in overdose after plagiarism accusation

A RADIOHGRAPHY student took his own life after he was accused of plagiarism for his final dissertation, an inquest has heard.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 3:33 pm
The ground floor of Chaucer House. Picture: Google

Alistair Hall was found dead at his room in student halls at Unite Students’ block Chaucer House in Portsmouth, on June 27 last year.

He had suffered a heart arrhythmia having taken an overdose of a drug he had ordered on the internet.

The inquest heard that the 22-year-old had been informed a month before his death that his dissertation would receive a zero mark because it was considered to have plagiarised an example work provided for his course.

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Mr Hall was born via IVF but struggled after his mother died just 18 months after his birth.

The hearing was told although Mr Hall would have had his dissertation discounted, his previous grades meant he would still have graduated and he was posthumously awarded a 2.1 degree in diagnostic radiography.

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

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.’

Recording a verdict of suicide, the 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.

‘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.’

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