Open verdict after death of student George Ford
TRACES of a drug used for depression and anxiety were found in a student who was found dead in a canal in Stroud, an inquest heard today.
George Ford, 20, of Slad Road, had been hallucinating and acting strangely according to his brother Joe and girlfriend Hannah Olley, in the days leading up to his death.
Coroner Tom Osborne said he had received statements from George's father William Ford and also from Hannah but did not think it was ‘appropriate’ to reveal the contents in public.
George was reported missing on December 16 by his family at 3am.
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Police divers found his body in the River Frome at Wallbridge on December 20.
Pathologist Dr Joshi was unable to find the cause of his death but traces of a drug called Alprazolam were found in his body, along with cannabis. However no alcohol was found.
George, who studied at Nottingham University, was known to buy benzodiazepine over the internet.
Pc David Slade said there were concerns regarding his behaviour which were noticed by his family and Hannah.
He said: "His girlfriend and roommate said that he was not sleeping. His brother particularly was concerned because at times George was talking to him but he would think he was somebody else. His behaviour became very strange and bizarre."
A check of Stroud town centre was done and George's family identified him there in the early hours of December 17 from CCTV footage.
It showed the student walking around the town centre before wandering to the canal.
On December 18 items were found near the canal, including George’s jeans, mobile and wallet.
The following day, a team of divers from Avon and Somerset, were called to assist with the search, where they later found George’s body in the water near the Wallbridge site.
Mr Osborne recorded an open verdict and said it was not possible to determine how he died due to insufficient evidence.
There was lack of evidence to suggest that George had taken his own life and there was not enough evidence to say he had drowned, which was confirmed by the post-mortem results.
Mr Osborne said: "I have to accept that the actual cause of death remains unascertained.
"As a parent of children who went through university all I can say on behalf of the coroners service here is to express sympathies for this tragic death and to remember the happy memories of George."