Despair of student who felt ‘isolated’

Medical student Noriko Seida died at the IQ Kopa halls of residence on Moor Lane, Preston. Photo: Google
Medical student Noriko Seida died at the IQ Kopa halls of residence on Moor Lane, Preston. Photo: Google

An overseas medical student killed herself after admitting she felt isolated living 6,000 miles from home in Preston, an inquest was told.

Noriko Seida, 30, was found dead in her room at halls of residence in the city when staff at the University of Central Lancashire became worried they could not contact her.

Only a week earlier Noriko, from Japan, had swallowed more than 90 paracetamol tablets in an apparent suicide bid.

During treatment in the Royal Preston Hospital she confessed to a mental health nurse that she had not intended to kill herself and had immediately regretted what she had done. But just 24 hours after discharging herself she succeeded in taking her own life and was found on her bed after stabbing herself 22 times.

Area coroner Claire Hammond recorded a verdict of suicide after being satisfied that, due to the severity of the wounds, Noriko must have intended to kill herself.

The inquest was told that the discovery of her body in the IQ Kopa building in Moor Lane last November initially sparked a major police investigation. It was only after detectives had checked the scene, surveyed CCTV footage and called in a top Home Office pathologist that crime was ruled out.

DI Simon Casey, who led the investigation, said Noriko had not left a note, the room was clean and tidy and there were no signs of forced entry or a disturbance.

Dr Brian Rodgers, who carried out a post-mortem examination, said in his opinion all 22 wounds in her neck, chest, abdomen and groin had been self-inflicted and carried out with “moderate” force. There were no defensive injuries on the arms and hands to suggest a third party had been involved.

He said: “22 stab wounds is a significant amount. How can someone do that? Well I can assure you it’s perfectly possible.”

Mental health nurse David Wallace talked to Noriko the day before she died and told the inquest: “She was complaining she felt quite flat in mood. She had come from Japan to Preston to study medicine in the hope of becoming a doctor one day.

“She was struggling because of the cultural change of living in Preston. It was a bit of a shock to her. She said she hadn’t managed to engage with or meet any new friends and felt isolated.

“She said she had taken the paracetamol because she had had suicidal thoughts. But she said her intention wasn’t to end her life. She had taken them and then immediately regretted what she had done.”

The coroner said Noriko had given no indications whatsoever when she left hospital that she was a suicide risk, despite the previous overdose.

She added: “I have to consider did she intend to end her own life when she did what she did? I have to take into account there were no outward indications that there was any risk of suicide. However I have to take into account the number and extent of the stab wounds she inflicted upon herself. The pain she must have been in to inflict those wounds would have required an inordinate amount of determination to keep going.”