Fresh inquest ordered into student's death

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The Independent Online

The family of a young student whose body featured in a graphic anti-drugs campaign today won their battle for a fresh inquest into her death.

Her parents had argued at a hearing at the High Court in London that there had been a failure to carry out a "full, fair and fearless" investigation into her death.

Rachel Whitear's mother and stepfather, Pauline and Mick Holcroft, were present in the London courtroom as two judges gave the go-ahead for the new inquest.

Their 21-year-old daughter was found dead in a bedsit in Exmouth, Devon, six years ago and an inquest in December 2000 recorded an open verdict, leaving the cause of death as "unascertained".

At court today they backed a move by Wiltshire Police for a court order overturning the original verdict so that a fresh hearing can be held in an attempt to establish a positive cause of death.

Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Bean will give their reasons later this afternoon for their decision.