Student died after ‘taking part in bar crawl initiation involving 100 triple vodkas and pig’s head’

Ed Farmer, 20, died after a night out in Newcastle in December 2016 (Picture: Facebook)
Ed Farmer, 20, died after a night out in Newcastle in December 2016 (Picture: Facebook)

A university student died after taking part in a bar crawl initiation that involved a round of 100 triple vodkas and a pig’s head, an inquest has heard.

Ed Farmer, 20, died in hospital in December 2016 after a night out with the Newcastle University agricultural society.

Newcastle Coroner’s Court was told on Monday that a round of at least 100 triple vodkas had been ordered at one of the venues on the bar crawl.

There was also a plan to drink vodka from a pig’s head, but Mr Farmer was so ill he was unable to take part in the task.

Mr Farmer, a first-year economics student from Leicester, was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary after being found unconscious.

A post-mortem examination found he had five times the legal drink-driving limit of alcohol in his blood.

Excess alcohol caused cardiac arrest which led to brain damage and his death, the inquest heard.


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The initiation went ahead on December 12, 2016 despite such events being banned by the university.

CCTV footage from that night showed students visiting a number of bars. At one point, Mr Farmer can be seen falling over and being held up by two other students, then being carried by his arms and legs.

After the bar crawl, students ended up at the home of agricultural society chairman James Carr in the Jesmond area of Newcastle, where a third-year student shaved Mr Farmer’s head.

Mr Farmer was heard to be snoring loudly, making students think he was sleeping soundly, but the inquest heard it signified partial obstruction of the airways.

Mr Carr told the inquest he was woken by another student at about 4.30am who said Mr Farmer needed to go to hospital.

“I was panicking if I’m honest, I was in a state of shock,” said Mr Carr.

Mr Farmer was a first-year economics student at Newcastle University (Picture: Facebook)
Mr Farmer was a first-year economics student at Newcastle University (Picture: Facebook)

The inquest heard that Mr Farmer could have been saved if he had received medical treatment earlier.

Dr Reuben Sahara, head of the Royal Infirmary’s Emergency Medicine Department, said cardiac arrest is at the end of the scale of the spectrum of alcohol poisoning.

“We knew that the situation was very grave from the outset,” he said. “I would agree that had he been in hospital prior to cardiac arrest then I would expect the patient to survive.”

Previously, Mr Farmer’s parents have raised questions about the police investigation, a pre-inquest review heard last October.

Their solicitor said there were text messages circulating between students which said “deny, deny, deny” before they were interviewed by police. The family wanted the police to interview more first-year students who attended the event.

The inquest continues.