Talented UWE student took his own life after Covid worsened his anxiety, inquest hears

The ‘beautiful’ 21-year-old had worked as a photographer, artist, model and DJ before his tragic death

A ‘multi-talented’ photography student who was found dead at his halls of residence in Bristol was struggling with anxiety which worsened after he caught Covid-19, an inquest heard.

University of the West of England student Luke Forte was discovered dead in the bathroom of his flat at Phoenix Court, Bond Street South, on December 1 last year.

The emergency services were called but the 21-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene at around 1.15pm.

An inquest at Avon Coroner’s Court yesterday (Tuesday, March 15) heard that Mr Forte, who was from Derby, had been struggling with anxiety for a while, which had exacerbated after he contracted Covid-19 in 2021.

Mr Forte’s GP, Dr Andrew Brooks of the Lister House Surgery, said that the student had ‘seemed tearful’ and rated his mood ‘four out of ten’ during an appointment in March.

Though tutors and friends reported that he later appeared to be doing well, Mr Forte was last seen entering his flat on November 27 before he was found dead four days later.

His mother Rachael, who was aware that Mr Forte was suffering from anxiety but had ‘no concerns’ about the care he was receiving, had contacted the University and requested that staff check on her son as she had not heard from him for a few days.

A toxicology report found no drugs or alcohol in Mr Forte’s system at the time of his death.

Luke Forte, a 21-year-old, was found dead in his halls of residence at Phoenix Court in December last year.

PC Lewis, who attended the scene and provided a statement to the court on behalf of Avon and Somerset Police, spoke to Mr Forte’s flatmates to inform them of his death.

One of them told the police officer: “I knew that Luke was struggling, but I thought he was feeling better. We had planned to move in together next year.”

The flatmates said that Mr Forte had taken up meditating to help with his anxiety and that he had ‘seemed fine’ when they had all been out together during the weekend.

Providing a statement on behalf of UWE, dean for students Gerry Rice said that although Mr Forte was an ‘able and articulate’ student, staff would carry out regular checks and signposted him to the wellbeing team as they knew he struggled with anxiety which sometimes caused his attendance to fluctuate.

Assistant coroner for the Avon area, Myfanwy Buckeridge, concluded: “Given the circumstances, my conclusion is that this was a death due to suicide.”

A tribute to Mr Forte in Sludge Magazine, which interviewed the student before his death, described him as a ‘multi-talented’ young man who had worked as a photographer, artist, model and DJ before his ‘tragic’ passing.

Mr Forte’s devastated family described him as a ‘beautiful’ person who ‘loved to help others’.

A fundraising page they launched in his memory raised more than £7,000 for mental health charity YoungMinds, more than doubling its original £3,000 target.