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UEA student drowned after taking drug, court hears

PUBLISHED: 13:18 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 13:48 10 January 2020

UEA student Nick Sadler, whose body was found in a lake on the campus  Picture: Will Sadler

UEA student Nick Sadler, whose body was found in a lake on the campus Picture: Will Sadler

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A 25-year-old UEA student drowned after smoking cannabis, an inquest heard today.

Nicholas Sadler disappeared from his shared student house in Norwich in the early hours of February 8 last year.

The film and television student's body was found by police in a lake at the UEA on February 19.

Mr Sadler grew up in Highgate, King's Lynn and went to King Edward VII School.

His father, William Sadler, said in a statement that his son had suffered from anxiety since around the age of 18 and was prescribed anti-depressants.

Mr Sadler had notified the university of this before starting his course and was accessing support but had begun to smoke cannabis, an inquest in King's Lynn heard on Friday.

Norfolk's senior coroner, Jacqueline Lake, recorded a narrative conclusion.

"Mr Sadler was found dead having gone into the UEA lake," she said. "He had smoked cannabis prior to his death."

She said he had not left a suicide note, did not mention suicidal thoughts immediately before his death and had previously sought help when he needed it.

Mr Sadler's housemate, Kieron Woodcock, "noticed him becoming more anxious again about life after university", Mrs Lake said.

She said: "There was evidence he smoked cannabis on the evening before his disappearance and it's not known what effect this would have had on his state of mind."

CCTV footage saw Mr Sadler walking "purposefully" towards the lake at around 4.30am on February 8 in just jeans and a T-shirt. His phone, wallet and keys were left in his house.

Mrs Lake said that "help and support was made available to him by the university" and that Mr Sadler "took full advantage of these services".

Duncan Yuile, Mr Sadler's mentor, said he met him "almost weekly" since his arrival at university in 2015.

He said that the last time he saw him, on February 6, he seemed "more agitated than usual", but he added: "I had no concern for Nick's safety during this session."

He said they discussed planning a work schedule.

Mr Sadler's father said his son began "normalising" the use of cannabis and talked of using drugs on a holiday to Amsterdam.

"He would use artists as a reference of how cannabis expands your mind," he said.

"I do believe that drug use played a part in the death of Nick."

Mr Sadler had earlier described his son as a "wonderful child".

He said: "It was a privilege to have him as a son. He was so supportive of everyone and wanted to help everyone, and he couldn't understand why the world was not like that with him.

"He loved people, and he loved cats - he was mad on animals generally. He was kind - I never had an argument with him. I knew he would have made a lovely father, but he won't have that chance."

In another tribute, his brother, Oliver, 31, said: "He'd do anything for you. He never hurt anybody, he was kind and funny to be around. He has given us so many wonderful memories and I still can't believe that this has actually happened. We all miss him terribly."


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