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Creative writing student remembered as ‘lovely and selfless gentleman’ by family

PUBLISHED: 15:23 03 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:23 03 March 2020

An inquest into the death of UEA student Theo Brennan-Hulme has started Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

An inquest into the death of UEA student Theo Brennan-Hulme has started Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A creative writing student who was found dead in his university flat has been remembered as “beautiful and bubbly” as an inquest into his death began.

Theo Brennan-Hulme was 21 when he was discovered dead in his room on the University of East Anglia campus in March 2019, where he was studying in his first year.

The inquest, which is scheduled to last three days, started at Norfolk Coroners' Court and his mother Esther Brennan paid a touching tribute to him.

A statement from Ms Brennan was read out by the family's solicitor Paul Clark at the hearing, which described Mr Brennan-Hulme's loves and passions - along with his troubles leading up to his death.

It told of how Mr Brennan-Hulme took pleasure from a big range of activities, including gymnastics, swimming, drawing, swimming, painting and comedy.

It read: "Theo was a character and you would remember him if you were lucky enough to get to know him. He was the kindest, most thoughtful, lovely and selfless gentleman you could meet."

The student had gained a place at the UEA through clearing, accepting it after rigorously researching the level of mental health support provided through student services.

The inquest heard how before going to university he had been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and was prone to anxiety attacks, which continued during his time at the UEA.

It also heard evidence from a number of his flat-mates, who were aware of his mental health troubles, which also saw him turn to drugs in the hope of lessening his struggles.

A statement from Jennifer Bull read out during the hearing said Mr Brennan-Hulme was one of her closest friends, describing their flat as being "more like a family".

In it she said how the 21-year-old had on occasions struggled to fight the urge to harm himself and how she had taken the measure to confiscate knives from the shared kitchen in the flat.

She added that he had sought support of a crisis management team at the UEA and that he was being referred to his GP.

He had travelled to study at the UEA having grown up in Newcastle-under-Lyme, near Stoke on Trent.

During the opening of his inquest last year, the medical cause of his death was given as hanging.

The inquest continues.

- Need to talk? Call the free Samaritans helpline on 116 123, 24 hours a day.

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