Student,19, died after downing lagers and rum in rugby team drinking game

A University of Gloucestershire student tragically died after downing lagers and rum in a rugby team initiation game that went wrong.

Sam Potter was found dead at a house in the Linden area of Gloucester by teammates in the early hours of May 9, 2019, PA reports.

Toxicology tests found that Potter had died from alcohol toxicity as he had drunk a fatal level of booze during the four-hour session with his teammates.

Gloucestershire Coroner's Court heard that on May 8 around 15 first and second-year students had been taking part at the end of season initiation games inside a garden shed consuming drinks mixed by third and fourth years.

At around 6 pm that evening, the teen from Hersham, Surrey fell asleep on the floor leaning against a sofa and witnesses say he was "extremely intoxicated."

At around 5.30 am the next day, friends of the film production student raised the alarm after failing to wake him.

Paramedics attended and confirmed the death.

Police did not find any third party involvement and could not be sure exactly what he had consumed.

Detective Sergeant David McCoy told the hearing there was evidence that lager, Guinness and rum had been drunk alongside various food sauces.

Toxicology tests showed Mr Potter had 362mg of ethanol per 100ml of blood.

Katy Skerrett, the senior coroner for Gloucestershire, claims experts regard a level of more than 350mg as being potentially fatal.

Skerrett said: "Sam clearly consumed a large amount of alcohol at that event. There is nothing to indicate attendance was anything other than voluntary.

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"Clearly, there is an element of peer pressure in any such event, but the evidence points to this being a voluntary attendance by Sam.

"What seems very clear is the amount Sam consumed tragically exceeded the amount that then caused fatal alcohol toxicity and very tragically Sam succumbed to the effects of that toxicity."

Following the incident, the University of Gloucestershire commissioned an independent report into the culture and practices of its sports clubs and societies.

Student registrar, Stewart Dove, said the report made 22 recommendations, including employing a director of sport.

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Mr Potter's parents, Kevin and Lindsay, said: "His strength of character made it all the more shocking that this had happened to him.

"It appears that none of the students involved had any idea of the dangers associated with drinking large amounts of alcohol over a short amount of time, or how to recognise the signs of alcohol poisoning and the potential for it to be fatal.

"Education around this is key. But so is addressing the problem areas in the culture of sport that can exist at universities."

In a joint statement the university and the students' union said: "We have already begun work to ensure the culture of sport at the university is changed for the better, building on the strengths identified in the report while also learning the lessons of this tragic case which has been deeply distressing for all concerned."

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