Student fasted to death: Deeply religious man died in quest for spiritual awareness

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The Independent Online
A DEEPLY religious Ghanaian student accidentally starved himself to death as he fasted in the belief that it would bring him greater spiritual awareness, an inquest was told yesterday.

George Kojorjee, 41, a second year mathematics student at Southampton University, was also found to have suffered organ damage caused by dietary supplements he had taken, which left chromium levels 100 times higher than normal in his blood.

However, fears that Mr Kojorjee had died because he could not afford to eat and had fallen through the university's welfare net were dispelled when it was revealed at the inquest in Southampton that a bag of groceries with food inside was found in his room.

Several weeks before his death, Mr Kojorjee had asked a friend, James Creppy, for a loan of pounds 20. Mr Creppy had given him pounds 30 to tide him over until a cheque arrived.

But when another student at the halls of residence eventually entered Mr Kojorjee's room with the manager, on 10 September, they discovered his emaciated body lying on the bed.

Dr William Roach told the court that he had carried out a post-mortem examination and found that Mr Kojorjee had lain in the room for about five days before being found and had died of chromium poisoning and starvation.

But Detective Constable Roger Brian said that he had found a Gateway carrier bag containing unopened milk, Shredded Wheat and Ovaltine, and copious amounts of literature referring to fasting as an aid to religious awareness.

The coroner, Thomas MacKean, recording a verdict of misadventure, said he did not believe Mr Kojorjee had intended to fast to death, but that this had been the result of the regime he had chosen to follow.

The coroner also said that the university's welfare services were freely and widely available, but that Mr Kojorjee had chosen not to use them. However, afterwards, Peter Reader, a spokesman for the university, said it still intended to conduct a thorough review of the services.