A UK university student died after a savage hazing ritual in which he was forced to drink copious amounts of alcohol from a decapitate pigs head, and then bob for apples in a tub of urine according to a report:
An Economics student died after a university ‘initiation’ which involved drinking vodka from a pig’s head and apple bobbing in urine, an inquest heard today.
Ed Farmer, 20, from Leicester, was in soaked clothes and had his head shaved when he arrived at hospital having downed a fatal amount of vodka.
The ex-pupil at £31,000-a-year Oakham School, Rutland, was given a one to two percent chance of survival after friends took him to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary at around 5.45am on December 13, 2016.
He died the following morning.
The hours leading up to his death have been described by friends who were with him during the Newcastle University Agricultural Society event.
The ‘initiation’ started with the first years being told to bring £30, a metro card and a 70cl bottle of spirits – as well as lubricant and a ‘Kinder Egg’ – to a Newcastle pub.
The first round, the inquest heard was ‘100 treble vodkas’ for the group of around 40.
Jonathan Hedley – a first year agriculture student in December 2016 said Ed had been ‘nervous’ on the way to the first pub for the pub crawl.
At the pub the boys were told they could leave and were then made to sit in silence if they chose to stay.
Mr Farmer was noticeably drunk after downing four more treble vodka and oranges and drinking straight from a spirit bottle in the street.
Mr Farmer was so drunk following the bar crawl that he was carried onto a Metro train by other students before being taken to another student’s house.
As he lay snoring in the hallway of the property – where the initiation was due to conclude – his head was shaved by a third year Agriculture student.
Mr Farmer was too ill to drink from the pig’s head and was taken to hospital after lying ill for around four hours. He arrived there five times over the drink drive limit and in cardiac arrest.
Mr Hedley said: ‘Ed was very drunk at this point.
‘We crawled along sheep hurdles, had a shot from the pig’s head, we each got a line out of our hair.
‘Then there was the bobbing for apples (in urine) – I didn’t know what it was at the time.’
The boys had their heads shaved so they would be ’embarrassed’ when they went home for Christmas, the inquest heard.
Guy Stoben, who had known Ed Since 2010 before they went to university said the boys knew to expect to eat things ‘like garlic and dog food’.
Mr Stoben said Ed was clearly enjoying himself, but around 3 or 4am he was told there was a problem with Ed.
He said: ‘I put my hand over his mouth to see if I could feel him breathing but I couldn’t feel anything.
‘I put my hand to his neck to see if I could feel a pulse but I still couldn’t feel anything.
‘I lifted him by his shoulders and was trying to shake him to see if I could get him to respond, but I couldn’t get any kind of response.’
The aim, the inquest at Newcastle Civil Centre heard, was to see freshers get drunk on vodka and other spirits while they were egged on by second and third years.
James Carr, 21, was chairman of the Agriculture Society at the time Mr Farmer died and organised the evening.
He told the inquest at Newcastle Civic Centre that he had known Mr Farmer since October or November of that year after meeting him during Fresher’s Week.
‘The purpose of the event was, and it’s an awful word, an initiation-style evening to welcome everyone into the society, but there was no requirement to turn up, you would still be included if you didn’t go,’ he said.
The night started at Newcastle’s Three Bulls Heads pub and progressed to Bar Beyond where older students handed over money to buy large rounds of drinks.
Mr Carr said that first year students consumed as many as three trebles each.
He was asked by coroner Karen Dilks: ‘Would it be fair to say the aim was for alcohol to be consumed quickly?’ to which he answered ‘yes’.
Asked whether they were encouraged to drink the measures, he replied: ‘I believe there would have been encouragement from the second and third year students but it was not forceful. ‘As a first year I felt pressure to drink but I would not say I was forced.
‘As we had experienced the year before, the activity involved was to shave parts of their heads before they were taken back to their halls or wherever they lived,’ Mr Carr explained.
‘They would crawl to the garage after having their heads shaved and drink shots of vodka from a pig’s head as happened the previous year to us. I was not there at the time but that did happen.’
Asked about the state Mr Farmer was in, he said: ‘When we got off the Metro I discovered Ed was not in a very good state and we carried him off the Metro and he was brought back to the house.
‘Ed was in the house to be looked after as he was quite obviously not in a fit state.’
Mr Carr said he took another student home and when he returned home Mr Farmer’s head had been shaved.
He told the inquest: ‘Ed’s head had been shaven by a third year student, I cannot remember who exactly but that happened while I was out of the house.’
By this time Mr Farmer was snoring ‘loudly’.
‘Extremely naively and stupidly it made me think he was asleep and I was unaware of the significance that the snoring had, I just assumed he was asleep,’ he continued.
Mr Carr broke down in tears as he described how he was woken to discover his friend in clearly serious condition in the hallway. He took him to hospital at 4.30am.
He told the hearing that initiations involving heavy drinking had been banned by the university.
‘You don’t consider the consequences unless something dramatic happens. Looking back now I don’t know what to say,’ Mr Carr said.
‘I knew that it would not have been allowed by the university. I said I didn’t want it to happen, if I could turn back the clock it’s a no brainer.’
He would have survived if taken to hospital earlier, medics said.
Reading from nursing notes taken at the time Mr Farmer was admitted, head of Accident and Emergency Dr Reuben Saharia said it was documented that he had a ‘shaved head, found to be amusing’.
His clothes were soaked with water and there was evidence of soil on his back, Coroner Dilks was told.
Referring to the notes, Dr Saharia said that Mr Farmer had been taken home from the event because he seemed to be more intoxicated than his friends.
He told the hearing: ‘He was taken back to his halls, was seen at 4am and when he was checked at 5am was unresponsive.
‘Had he been in a hospital environment prior to cardiac arrest I would expect that patient to survive.’
Family solicitor Simon Kernyckyj raised concern about his death at a pre-inquest hearing last October.
‘There were text messages circulating after the incident which said ‘deny, deny, deny’ before they were interviewed by police,’ Mr Kernkcyj said:
‘Although there were 20 to 30 first year students at this gathering … there were only three first-years interviewed, and these were the people who were effectively the subject of this event.
‘There appears to be a disproportionate interest in those who were running this event. I want to know from the police if they had considered interviewing more first-years.
‘Mr and Mrs Farmer are concerned that no investigation of phones was undertaken apart from one statement which said the police looked at a phone and took some photographs.’
After he died other attendees exchanged texts telling each other to ‘deny, deny, deny’ during police interviews.