Student hanged herself before finals

A brilliant Oxford University student used a cord to hang herself just weeks before she was due to take her final exams, an inquest heard yesterday.

Sarah Napuk, 21, was found by her Canadian fiance Jason Russell last Thursday afternoon in the bedroom of her home just a stone's throw from Lady Margaret Hall where she was studying.

Ms Napuk, a third-year history student at Lady Margaret Hall, who recently won a Kennedy Scholarship to study for a postgraduate degree at Harvard University, was due to sit her final examinations in six weeks' time.

She is thought to have taken her own life due to exam stress. She had been receiving counselling from university officials but was described as "outstanding and academically gifted" by her tutors.

At the opening of her inquest at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Coroner Mr Nicholas Gardiner was told that Ms Napuk, of West Saville Row, Edinburgh, had used a cord to hang herself. The cause of death was given as asphyxia by hanging.

Her parents, company director Kerry and his wife, Angela, who had travelled south following the tragedy, were not at the two-minute hearing.

Mr Gardiner released Ms Napuk's body so she can be cremated at a funeral service.

The inquest was opened and adjourned to a later date for further inquiries to be carried out.