Student Dies After Being Impaled on Spiked Railings

An Oxford student died after slipping as he tried to jump over metal railings near his halls of residence.

Suhith Mahendra, 23, was on his way back from Cowley Road with friend Theo Pemberton in the early hours of May 19, when he attempted to take the well-trodden shortcut over the fence from Cuckoo Lane, off Marston Road, to the Clive Booth halls of residence.

The international student, who had come to Oxford from India in September 2020, was the second to attempt the leap over the spiked railings – his friend Theo Pemberton being the first to jump over the fence. It had been raining that night, according to reports.

“We had used these cut-throughs hundreds of times before,” Pemberton said in a statement.

Pemberton, who had spent the evening with his friend before going to Cowley Road after 2:00 am to ‘see who was there’ and get some food, described Mahendra as a ‘brilliant friend, kind, sweet and generous’.

Pemberton said he had used his phone as a torch to light the way as Mahendra climbed over the railings. “He had his left leg on a metal post to put himself up. It was then that his foot slipped on the fence.”

He could see his friend was wounded from where he had impaled himself on the railings. The former lifeguard and trained first-aider called an ambulance, although his phone soon ran out of power, and began performing CPR.

Pemberton suggested it was around 25 minutes before the ambulance arrived, although no specific details were given regarding when South Central Ambulance Service was first called and when paramedics turned up.

A number of security guards and a warden, Fraser Bonar, were also called to the scene. One of the guards, Asim Mohammed said that he had heard someone screaming: “My friend has died. Please don’t die.”

When paramedics arrived they took over chest compressions and removed Mahendra from the railings.

PC Leah Pullen, who was one of the police officers called to the scene, said there were ‘around 20 NHS professionals’ waiting for the patient at the John Radcliffe Hospital A&E. Despite their efforts, he was pronounced dead at 5:25 am that morning.

Doctors ruled the primary cause of death to be traumatic aortic rupture, caused by a cut to the major blood vessel.

A statement from DC Claire Scanlon concluded that there were no suspicious circumstances and no evidence of third party involvement in Mahendra’s death. It had been a ‘tragic accident’, the Thames Valley Police detective said.

Members of Mahendra’s family, questioned the amount of time it had taken the ambulance to arrive and whether the student may have survived had he been taken to hospital sooner.

The coroner said: “It’s difficult to speculate on that. There’s no comment in the postmortem report that suggests that any earlier or quicker conveyance to the hospital would have made any difference.”

Original Article

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