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19:15, 25 JUL 2017 Updated 07:23, 26 JUL 2017
Elsa Scaburri, 21, went ‘downhill rapidly’ during a year of studying modern languages abroad in Italy, an inquest heard
A ‘gifted’ student at Bristol University hanged herself after ‘slowly unravelling’ with depression, an inquest heard today.
Elsa Scaburri, 21, is reportedly the fifth suspected suicide at the top university since the academic year began.
The third-year student went ‘downhill rapidly’ during a year of studying modern languages abroad in Italy, the coroner revealed.
She felt ‘worthless’ and came back to the UK so she could be with her mum in January where she was diagnosed with clinical depression.
During her treatment for depression GPs and doctors said they had ‘no concerns’ Elsa, who was born in Italy but lived with her mother in Broad Chalke, Salisbury, would commit suicide.
Just two months later she penned a suicide note and left it on a door handle her home before hanging herself in an isolated barn just under a mile away on Knowle Farm.
Her death on March 20 this year is believed to be the fifth suicide by a University of Bristol student in the same academic year.
The university, ranked among the top 25 in the country, said in February it had launched a review into student mental health issues.
It was prompted after the death of student Lara Nosiru and the university said the tragedies were not believed to be connected.
Neuroscience student Lara, from Essex, was discovered on January 30 in a gorge beneath a 300 ft bridge.
Miranda Williams, 19, of Chichester, West Sussex, was a philosophy student and struggled with depression and anxiety. She was found dead on October 10 three weeks after leaving home.
Just 11 days later Daniel Green, an ancient history student, was found dead aged 18.
Kim Long, 18, who studied law, died on November 10.
A former University of Bristol student, 23-year-old Maxine Wiley, was also found hanged in her Bristol flat on September 2.
Today an inquest into Elsa’s death at Salisbury Coroner’s Court heard about her short battle with depression.
Her mother Belinda, whose statement was read out, recalled how she began ‘unravelling’ and said they shared a bed so she could ‘comfort her.
Belinda said: “She was a top grade student, always hard on herself and pushing herself.
“She was studying languages and in 2016 she moved back to Italy and took on roles of translating and all was good.”
Elsa came back to the UK after her parents flew out to Italy to see her at Christmas in 2016, and was unhappy when she had to return to continue her year abroad.
Belinda continued: “She went back to Italy and was not happy, she went downhill rapidly.
“I flew out there and she was happy to see me but slowly unravelling. She developed head shakes and twitches.
“We came back to the UK and she continued to go downhill, saying she was lazy and never did anything with her life and the shakes continued.
“We saw a GP and he said she was having some sort of crisis, she started getting night terrors too.
“A doctor diagnosed her with clinical depression. Medication stopped the head shakes and twitches but she still thought she was going to be like this for the rest of her life.
“Since her return from Italy we were sleeping in the same bed so I could comfort her.”
Later, when Elsa was sleeping on her own again, her mother woke and realised her daughter was not in her bedroom.
She saw a suicide note left on the handle of her door and immediately phoned the police.
She was found hanged with an earphone in one ear playing music from her iPod. She also had a rucksack on her, with a handwritten note stating her name and address.
A statement from Dr Fiona Hayes, who had treated Elsa was read out at the inquest. She said: “Elsa told me she felt like a fraud and could not do the things everyone thought she could do.”
Evidence from Dr Shruthi Guruswamy was also read out, she said Miss Scaburri told her she ‘cried most days’ and feels ‘worthless’ but did not show suicidal signs.
Dr Guruswamy said: “Elsa told me ‘I’ve lost my routine’ and was crying most days. Her mood was worse in mornings and she had low energy levels.
“She felt like she had nothing to say to anyone and felt like she was worth nothing.
“I asked her if she had thoughts about suicide and she denied this as well as any thoughts about self harm.
“She said her thoughts were stuck and her brain just felt foggy.
“At the time I had no concerns about her safety and she made it clear to me her family were her safety.”
Elsa also received therapy before her death.
Coroner Dr Ian Singleton, giving a verdict of suicide, said: “In January of this year she was notably unhappy and in a downward spiral wondering what she was doing with herself.
“She saw GPs, doctors and a therapist and did not seem to show any suicidal thoughts.
“There is nothing to suggest a trigger and no evidence to suggest she would take her own life.”