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‘Wonderful’ Liverpool biochemistry student took her own life, inquest finds

‘Her life had so much promise and potential’


An inquest has found that a “wonderful” Liverpool student tragically took her own life.

21-year-old Ava-Jane Van Der Merwe, who was studying biochemistry at Liverpool, died on 13th August 2022.

An inquest this week heard how Ava-Jane had visited the GP the night before she died and an “urgent referral” had been made to the mental health team. She should have been contacted that night but wasn’t called until the next day, after she had died, as a member of staff was “working within old time frames” an NHS investigation found, Manchester Evening News reports.

In August last year, Ava-Jane sent her friend a Snapchat message that resulted in him calling 999 and also going to find her himself.

An inquest this week (9th January) heard how police arrived 15 minutes after the friend, and Ava-Jane’s condition deteriorated as they waited for an ambulance. Officers started CPR but Ava-Jane was later pronounced dead at Southport and Ormskirk General Hospital.

Assistant Coroner Kate Bisset described Ava-Jane as a “wonderful and happy young woman” who had a bright future ahead of her. The Liverpool student had been been enjoying working as a medical secretary at a GP practice.

Ms Bisset returned a conclusion of suicide and said: “I am so very sorry to Ava-Jane’s family for their loss. Her life had so much promise and potential not withstanding the tragedies she had experienced.”

An investigation by the NHS trust found that issues with staffing have been resolved and other changes have been brought in, following the death of Ava-Jane.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone or contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, Mind on 0300 123 3393, Calm (Campaign against living miserably) on 0800 58 58 58, and Student Minds online here. You matter.