news

University of Chester student's tragic death at 20 was 'drugs-related'

Meshaal Juma Al-Muraikhi was found dead in university halls

Police vehicles outside Sumner House student accommodation, the former Travelodge building, in Delamere Street, Chester(Image: David Holmes)

A student found dead at his University of Chester halls of residence last year was ‘heavily addicted’ to prescription drugs at the time of his death, an inquest heard.

But Michael Wallbank, assistant deputy coroner for Cheshire, said he did not think 20-year-old Meshaal Juma Al-Muraikhi deliberately meant to harm himself when he was found unresponsive and not breathing in his digs on Delamere Street on December 3 last year.

Meshaal, a native of Qatar, had been studying business in Chester since September 2016, having previously failed a university course in Huddersfield where had he met his girlfriend Danielle Sanders through a friend of her stepsister’s boyfriend in July 2015.

"He often lied to doctors about taking his medication"

Danielle, not present at the inquest held at Chester Coroner’s Court, said in a statement that Meshaal, who treated her ‘like a princess’ had struggled with his course and but lied to his family back in Qatar and told them he had passed.

She said these lies had had a negative impact on his health and he became dependent on medication for anxiety, including diazepam and tramadol.

Medical records show Meshaal had a history of illicit substance misuse as well as a history of bi-polar disorder, and had a hole in the heart which he took medication for.

“He would often lie to his doctor and say he had lost his medication when in fact he had already taken it,” Danielle said.

Accidentally fell downstairs when he was drunk

Meshaal stayed in Huddersfield until his visa ran out in October 2015 and returned to Qatar, before coming back to the UK permanently in August 2016 after he was accepted at the University of Chester on a course funded by Qatar Airways.

Shortly after he started living in the halls of residence on Delamere Street, he asked his GP for coedine for heachaches at the Garden Lane Medical Centre.

In November, he was prescribed medication after accidentally falling downstairs when he was drunk and at some point was referred to a mental health team for his bi-polar disorder and was later discharged.

During this time he and Danielle, who continued to live in Huddersfield, split up a number of times although remained in constant contact.

By the time they got back together properly in November he was ‘heavily addicted’ to prescription medication, and during a trip to Huddersfield, he acquired 200 tramadol tablets before the pair returned to Chester on December 1.

When they arrived, the couple had a minor disagreement because he wanted to go out ‘partying’ and Danielle did not. The next day he left to go to what she assumed was his lecture while she stayed in bed.

Meshaal returned shortly afterwards with a McDonalds takeaway and they looked on the computer at hotels to stay at in London, where they were planning to travel to the next day.

Danielle said she then heard him on the phone discussing buying codeine tablets from a person she wasn’t aware of but shortly afterwards, fell asleep and awoke a few hours later about 12.50am to find him unresponsive and not breathing.

She called emergency services and when police arrived they found several ‘half full and half empty’ blister packets of tablets nearby.

A post mortem examination found a cocktail of paracetamol, coedine and most significantly, ‘six times more than the therapeutic concentration of tramadol’ in Meshaal’s body.

A 5.8 level of tramadol was found present when people have been known to die from a 3.7 level, according to Dr William Kenyon who carried out the examination.

Recording a verdict of 1a tramadol toxicity, Mr Wallbank said: “This man died at the tragically young age of 20. There is no doubt that, for whatever reason, he had been misusing prescribed drugs for some time.

“But there is no evidence in my view to indicate that he wished to deliberately harm himself. I am satisfied his death was drugs related.”

View full mobile page