Open verdict on student death

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AN inquest into the death of a Lancaster University student this week was unable to determine exactly how he died.

Deputy coroner Derek Baker was forced to record an open verdict at Monday's inquest.

He said there were no suspicious circumstances and insufficient evidence of suicide, but, Harianand Loknath was unlikely to have died from natural causes.

Mr Loknath, 24, was found dead in his bedroom in the Graduate Hall at Lancaster University on July 5. It is thought he had been dead for several days.

Consultant pathologist Dr Nick Mapstone carried out a post mortem on Mr Loknath, but was unable to ascertain a cause of death due to the body's state of decomposition.

Medication found in his bedroom could not be identified in the post mortem. There was no evidence of self-harming.

Mr Loknath, who had come to Lancaster from India in October to study for a Masters degree in finance, had previously seen his GP for depression and problems sleeping, and had taken prescribed medication.

Police found records of a use of websites for advice on suicidal thoughts on Mr Loknath's laptop.

He had told his doctor he wasn't feeling suicidal, however. GP Dr Duncan Hallam said in a statement read out at the inquest: "I didn't think he was at high risk of suicide at this time."

Friends of Mr Loknath said he had recently been inhaling butane gas from lighters, to give himself a 'high' and to help him sleep.

Anandh Rimasubramanyam, a friend for seven years, said in a statement that Mr Loknath had settled in well at the university.

He suffered from stomach problems and took medication his mother sent over from India.

He had never said he intended to take his own life, and had

previously said he felt it was a "dishonorable" thing to do.

When Mr Rimasubramanyam last spoke to him on July 1, Loknath's speech was slurred and he was acting strangely.

He had previously gone missing and university porter Geoffrey Todd had made regular checks on him.

Mr Loknath was found in his room by Mr Todd on July 5, after friends became concerned, having not seen him for several days.