Text messages saying ‘deny, deny, deny’ have been found on a group chat between Newcastle university students before they face police interrogation. This occurred after a tragic incident in December 2016 where 20 year old first-year, Edward Farmer, died at an agricultural society initiation event from excessive alcohol consumption.
Farmer’s parents have made appeals to the police after discovering that only three out of the seventeen witnesses being questioned were first years. There were an estimated fifty students in attendance at the event, organized as an initiation for first years into both the society and university life. Farmer passed away in Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary after being rushed to hospital in the early hours for consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol.
One witness stated that Farmer’s condition was not immediately recognized, telling The Daily Mail, ‘He got really drunk and they … didn’t realise he had stopped breathing until it was too late’.
Despite a string of loving messages from Farmer’s friends, the case has now aroused scandal as Farmer’s parents suspect there is more to their involvement than initially meets the eye. The parents stated that not enough had been done by police to investigate the significance of the ‘deny, deny, deny’ messages. Denial of alcohol as a dangerous substance seems to be a growing trend amongst young people in the UK and US.
Incidents amongst university students surrounding fatal intoxication are becoming an increasingly worrying phenomenon. In February this year 18 year old Erica Bischick was found dead in her university accommodation after binge drinking a combination of vodka and champagne. Sources reported that Erica and her roommate had finished two bottles of champagne between them, before filling a water bottle with vodka and taking it to a house party. A taxi driver who took the girls home later in the night reported that Erica’s roommate asked him not to call anyone for help, despite Erica having fallen numerous times do to her intoxication, as she was afraid of them both getting in trouble.
This raises the question of whether university authorities and police are doing enough to tackle the problem of over drinking in the first place. Katie, a psychology student at Leeds told Student Life Guide about her experiences, ‘I was got myself into such a state that I was hospitalized. I woke up in a ward the next day with no clothes, no shoes, no phone and no money. I had no idea where I was or how to get home. To be honest, I was lucky that I came out with nothing more than a raging hangover. More should be done to warn students about knowing their limits.’
Sam, a medic at Bristol added, ‘So many people take it too far because they have no idea of the consequences on your body. When you’re a student you feel invincible but we’re actually at our most vulnerable. It shouldn’t take someone getting hospitalized to make them realise what they’re doing is wrong. As for their mates trying to hide it, that’s just another level of psycho.’
In the meantime, if you’re seeking advice or further information on what is a safe amount of alcohol to consume visit www.drinkaware.co.uk/