Student's death poses a puzzle

AN INQUEST failed yesterday to find an explanation of why a highly intelligent student hanged herself days after taking her place at Oxford University.

The coroner concluded that Tracey Cole, 18, who was reading English at Lady Margaret Hall after gaining 10 GCSEs and three A-levels, all at A grade, had hung herself with her dressing gown cord. Miss Cole's fellow students, college tutor and distraught father told Oxford coroner's court she had not seemed unduly worried and appeared no more nervous than any other fresher.

The Oxfordshire coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, said he was satisfied Miss Cole, whose parents live in Exeter, had intended to kill herself. 'It may have been simply a moment of despair and nothing more than that,' he said.

Miss Cole's body, dressed in pyjamas, was found by a fellow student on 15 October in her lodgings at Lady Margaret Hall a week after she had arrived at the college.