Northern Ireland news

Newcastle University student Jeni Larmour died from effects of alcohol and ketamine, inquest hears

Jeni Larmour from Newtownhamilton was found dead in student accommodation in Newcastle
Tom Wilkinson, PA

An A* student from Co Armagh who collapsed on her first night at university died from the combined effects of alcohol and ketamine, an inquest heard.

Jeni Larmour’s mother started the hearing at Newcastle Coroner’s Court with a detailed pen portrait about her high-achieving daughter who died aged just 18 on October 3 2020.

The former deputy head girl at the Royal Armagh Grammar School, from Newtonhamilton, Northern Ireland, had just arrived at Newcastle University where she was studying urban planning and architecture.

Pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper said police informed him of the circumstances of her death before he carried out a post-mortem examination, with the emergency services attending student accommodation around 5.30am and finding her lifeless.

Dr Cooper said: “She had arrived in Newcastle from Northern Ireland the previous day, she had been with other occupants of her flat on that evening, alcohol had been consumed and there were indications that other substances may have been taken as well.”

A toxicology report showed she had a blood alcohol level of 197mg per 100ml of blood when the legal driving limit was 80mg – putting her around two and a half times over that level, indicating “at least a moderate level of intoxication”.

Read more: Student sniffed drugs with girl on first day at university, inquest told

Dr Cooper said tests revealed she had 1.3mg of ketamine per litre of blood, a level below what would usually be considered fatal.

But the two together were likely to have severely depressed her nervous system and he recorded the cause of death to be “the effects of a combination of alcohol and ketamine”.

Dr Cooper said it was impossible to specify when Ms Larmour died but said ketamine could cause death “pretty quickly”.

Earlier, her mother Sandra paid tribute to her daughter, saying she flourished at school “with her huge personality, confidence and humour”.

The A* student was popular with pupils, teachers and parents alike, she was a trained classical singer and a leader with the school’s cadet force.

Watched by Jeni’s father David, Mrs Larmour said their daughter raised funds for a school trip to India and it was the moving experience of seeing the New Delhi slums which made her choose her architecture and planning degree.

Her mother said: “Jeni’s bag was always packed and I am proud she had a varied experience of life in her limited years.”

Mrs Larmour said there were “no half measures” and her daughter was a “do it now and do it to perfection person”.

She added: “Her death has left a huge void that will never be filled.

“It is a huge loss to me, her father David, brother Daniel and our extended family.

“I also believe it is a huge loss to Newcastle University and the planning world she would have joined.”

Her family is represented at the inquest, as well as the university and student Kavir Kalliecharan, 19, from Leeds, who faced drugs charges following her death.

Read more: Student sniffed drugs with girl on first day at university, inquest told