Devastated mums identify daughters’ bodies hours after arriving at university

Two heartbroken mums were forced to identify their daughters' bodies within hours of their arrival at university, inquests have heard.

The tragic deaths of students Stephanie Sillifant and Jeni Larmour, both 18, at Newcastle University sparked a warning from police over drugs.

Nathaniel Pavlovic, 21, a student at the city’s Northumbria University, also lost his life over the same weekend at the start of term.

Inquests into their deaths heard Jeni and Nathaniel had died after taking substances which were "yet to be identified". All three had been out drinking with friends shortly after arrival at their halls of residence to start their studies.

Newcastle senior coroner Karen Dilks said Stephanie, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, Notts, suffered from "underlying health issues".

She arrived to begin studying just two days before her death on October 4. Investigations into the trio of deaths are still ongoing.

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Mrs Dilks said: "It is believed Stephanie was with others where she was living having consumed alcohol.

"It is also known that Stephanie did have underlying health conditions."

She was identified by her mum Nicola Sillofant, who wrote a moving online tribute. She said: "Hi Sweetie, Just to let you know that I love and miss you so much.

"I can't imagine my life without you in it but I do believe that you were taken from us because you are needed elsewhere.

“I have no doubt that I will see you again, it just probably won’t be for a while. Go be the remarkable person I always knew you were going to be.

"I’m so very proud of you and I will always be in awe of everything you achieved. All my love now and forever, Mum.”

Jeni, of Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh in Northern Ireland, died in the same halls of residence the day before Stephanie.

She was identified by her mother Sandra Larmour, who described her daughter as her "beautiful princess" and her "best friend’ at the time of the tragedy.

Mrs Dilks added: “Jeni was believed, on the evening of Oct 2, to have consumed alcohol and socialised with others from the flat in which she was residing.

“It is believed she may have taken a substance yet to be identified.

"Investigations are ongoing to establish the precise cause of death.”

Nathaniel, of Halifax, West Yorks, was identified by his dad Alex Pavlovic on October 4. He was out drinking with friends the night before he died, and to have taken an unidentified substance.

All three inquests were adjourned to a date yet to be confirmed.

A fourth person, Mark Johnston, 18, of Washington, Tyne and Wear, died over the same weekend.

Northumbria Police said they had arrested a total of 11 people in connection with the four deaths. A spokesman said: “Enquiries remain ongoing."

Chief Inspector Steve Wykes encouraged any students in possession of illegal drugs to contact their university wellbeing teams or visit their local police station in order to dispose of them safely.

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