Tributes for two students who died


Tributes have begun pouring in for two University of York students who died within two days of each other.

Inquests into the deaths of first year sociology student Alex Hurry, 22, and Saher Ahmad, 20, a third year archaeology student, were opened today by acting senior coroner Jonathan Leach.

Both students, who were members of Vanbrugh College, were found dead by police within 48 hours of each other. Saher was found last Friday and Alex was found on Sunday.

The coroner said that Ms Ahmad was found behind a door at a property in Alcuin Avenue, Tang Hall.

He said Mr Hurry, of Fairfax House on Heslington Road, had been found by a toilet when the door was forced open. Both had a history of depression.

A university spokeswoman said they were “greatly saddened” at the deaths. “Our thoughts are with family and friends at this distressing time,” they added.

Dr John Schofield, the head of the university’s archaeology department, said: “Saher was one our best citizens, a lively and positive force at King’s Manor, Secretary of the Archaeology Society and a leading light in the organisation of some very successful parties, including the recent Christmas Party.

“I recall her doing the ‘hard-sell’, boldly knocking on staff-members doors persuading them to attend. She was also a thoughtful and conscientious student, making perceptive and insightful contributions in seminars and always encouraging to others.

“We had hoped that she would move on to study for a Masters degree with us. She will be missed by all those who knew her.”

Saher’s supervisor Dr Penny Spikins said Saher “brought energy and enthusiasm to her studies and was always a source of support to her friends”.

Her dissertation supervisor, Dr Kate Giles, added: “She was a bright star, enthusing all those around her with her love of learning; a creative and original thinker who will be much missed as a student and fellow researcher, by all of us.”

Head of Sociology, Professor Ellen Annandale, said: “The Department is deeply saddened by the news of the death of Alex Hurry. He came to York to study for his BA in Sociology with Social Psychology in the autumn last year. Alex had expressed his enthusiasm for his chosen subject and the modules he was following.

“Regrettably Alex’s time with us has been cut short and we are deeply sorry that we shall not have the opportunity to work with him to help realise his academic potential.  Our thoughts at this very sad time are with his family and friends and those people he got to know at York.”

The principal of both students’ college, Dr Barry Thomas, said: “The College was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Saher.

“She was a third year student who made a real contribution to College life and will be greatly missed by her friends and colleagues in the College.”

He added: “Alex’s friends and colleagues in Fairfax House were much saddened by his death.

“He was in his first year at University with much to offer the community and we very much regret that his potential was cut short in such a tragic way.”

Both inquests have been adjourned.