The distraught family of a student who took her own life have accused a university of “incompetence” and claimed authorities tried to “cover up” her death.

Tragic Raven Hunt died on April 13 last year, but her family say no one from the University of the West of England (UWE) contacted them until her grandfather emailed the vice-chancellor months later.

The student had been struggling with withdrawal symptoms from using Xanax, the Bristol Post reports.

A charity chief now believes the university’s inaction could put Raven’s friends and family at risk.

It was left to Raven’s heartbroken granddad to email the vice-chancellor Steve West three months after the incident before they received a reply.

Ged Flynn, chief executive of charity Papyrus, said the university’s lack of action could have put the lives of Raven’s family and friends at risk.

The university said it “assumed” the family did not want the support during Raven’s inquest and decided not to send anyone as it was not their “normal practice”.

Raven’s family have accused university bosses of a cover up 


Emmy Hunt /

Raven’s granddad Richard added: “I think they are incompetent. We’ve had no letter of condolence, nothing from the university until I emailed them.”

What happened?

A third-year sociology student at UWE, Raven was a self-driven young woman who already had plans for her future. The 21-year-old had wanted to be a social worker and worked tirelessly towards achieving her goal.

When she was 15, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression while preparing for her GCSE exams. Doctors put her on anti-depressants, and her mood seesawed throughout the next few years. Despite that, she continued to do well in school, and got a place at UWE to study sociology.

The student was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when she was a teenager ( Image: Emmy Hunt /

Raven was close to her family, especially her mum Emmy. They texted everyday, and Emmy – who brought up her four children singlehandedly – knew something was wrong when Raven did not reply to a message on April 12.

Emmy got in contact with her daughter’s friends, and they launched a search for her. A dog walker found her hanged in Leigh Woods, around 1.45pm on April 13.


Her friends told Raven’s family she had started using Xanax about eight weeks before her death.

They said she was given the drug by another student, and that she had used it as a way to cope with her anxiety issues ahead of her final exams.

But two weeks before her death, she decided to come off the drug but was suffering from its severe withdrawal symptoms.