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The Stoke Sentinal
By Kathie McInnes
05:00, 23 NOV 2017
North Staffordshire’s coroner rules philosophy undergraduate Michelle Mosot took her own life.
The body of a 19-year-old Keele University student who killed herself in her hall of residence may have lain undiscovered for up to eight days.
An inquest heard yesterday how Michelle Mosot had cut her Christmas holidays short so she could return to the privately-run student complex and concentrate on revision for her January exams.
But when her family became increasingly concerned at not being able to reach her, they visited the accommodation in Hill Street, Stoke, and got no response. They alerted the university and she was reported as missing.
It was only when police and university representatives turned up at the third-floor flat that they found Michelle’s body on January 16 this year. Her cause of death was asphyxia due to hanging.
The inquest took place at North Staffordshire Coroner’s Court
The last known sighting of the second-year philosophy student was when she was caught on CCTV camera in the early hours of January 8. The six-second footage showed her walking into her en suite room from a communal area.
Giving evidence at the inquest, her father Miguel Mosot said the family had ‘no inkling’ she had depression. “At Christmas, she was fine. She did not say anything,” he added. “If she had only told me, I could have talked her out of it.”
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He described how his Filipino-born daughter was ‘always smiling’ and ‘everybody liked her’. Over Christmas, he had told her she ‘needed to make her grades better’ and later gave her a lift from their family home in Wrexham to the train station to head back to Staffordshire.
Unbeknown to Michelle’s relatives, she had filled in an electronic form on Christmas Day, requesting support from Keele’s counselling team. In the form, she referred to having ‘suicidal feelings’.
Michelle Mosot’s body was discovered at Lomax Halls in Stoke
The inquest was told she’d also sought help from her GP, who had prescribed anti-depressants and had suggested she contact North Staffordshire Well-Being Service. At the time of her death, she was on a waiting list for cognitive behavioural therapy.
Sian Williams, a community mental health nurse with the well-being service, saw Michelle on November 8 and assessed her as having ‘low mood’, with ‘no indication’ she was going to harm herself.
She said: “The main issue appeared to be she was struggling with social isolation through being off-campus.”
During her first year at university, Michelle lived at Keele and became involved in various clubs and societies. But staying in Stoke in her second year led to transport difficulties as the clubs met in the evenings.
Mark Fudge, head of counselling at the university, said Michelle may have been unaware a shuttle bus operated at night to ensure students could get home safely if they lived off campus.
He met with Michelle himself on January 6 after responding to her request for support and was in the process of arranging her first counselling session. “She was very calm and rational,” he recalled.
Concluding the teenager died as a result of suicide, North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith said: “How long she had been planning to do this is anybody’s guess. Some people make these decisions on the spur of the moment.”