Gloucester student died after four-hour drinking game

  • Published
Sam PotterImage source, Family handout
Image caption,
Sam Potter had 362mg of ethanol per 100ml of blood, with the coroner telling the inquest that anything over 350mg was potentially fatal

A student died after a four-hour university rugby club drinking game.

An inquest heard University of Gloucestershire student Sam Potter died from alcohol toxicity.

The 19-year-old was found dead at a house in the Linden area of Gloucester by teammates in the early hours of 9 May 2019.

His parents said they hoped the "problem areas" of university sport drinking would improve.

Toxicology tests found Mr Potter, from Hersham, Surrey was the equivalent of more than four-and-a-half times the legal drink-drive limit.

Mr Potter had 362mg of ethanol per 100ml of blood. The legal drink drive limit is 80mg per 100ml of blood.

Gloucestershire Coroner's Court heard around 15 first- and second-year students had been taking part in the end-of-season games on the afternoon of May 8.

Image caption,
Following Mr Potter's death, the university commissioned a report into the culture of its sports clubs and societies which made 22 recommendations

At 18:00 BST several students went home but Mr Potter - described as being "extremely intoxicated" - stayed at the house and fell asleep on the floor.

The alarm was raised at about 05:30 the following day when the the film production student could not be woken. Paramedics attended and confirmed death.

Det Sgt David McCoy told the hearing there was evidence that lager, Guinness and rum had been drunk, alongside various sauces.

"There was nothing based on the other students we spoke to that give us any cause for concern. It was a tragic accident," he said.

Recording a conclusion of alcohol-related death, Katy Skerrett, senior coroner for Gloucestershire, said: "Clearly, there is an element of peer pressure in any such event, but the evidence points to this being a voluntary attendance by Sam."

Speaking afterwards, Mr Potter's parents, Kevin and Lindsay, said: "His strength of character made it all the more shocking that this had happened to him.

"Education around this is key. But so is addressing the problem areas in the culture of sport that can exist at universities."

In a joint statement the university and the students' union said both were working to change the sport culture at the university "for the better".

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