Mared Foulkes: 21-Yr-Old Student Jumps off Bridge After University Wrongly Tells her She Failed in the Exam

21-year-old Mared Foulkes was studying pharmaceuticals at Cardiff University and worked part-time in a pharmacy.

A second-year Cardiff University student, Mared Foulkes, 21, from Anglesey, north Wales, died by suicide after she was wrongly told by the university that she failed her exams, in an email. Foulkes jumped to her death from the nearby Britannia Bridge over the Menai Strait on July 8, an inquest heard.

She was studying pharmaceuticals and worked part-time in a pharmacy for several years. An email from the university informing that she had failed her re-sit exam and would not be progressing to the third year was received by Foulkes hours before her death, an inquest in Caernarfon on Thursday, October 28, was told.

Head of school, Prof Mark Gumbleton, said there were "lessons always to be learned" at the inquest after Foulkes's death. The 21-year-old had texted one of her housemates about the results. "I did c**p," the text read. The fact that Foulkes had even sought help from student support services prior to her death but at the time it was not believed that she posed a risk to herself or others, was brought to notice at the inquest.

Mared Foulkes
(Screen grab) Mared Foulkes Daily Post Wales

Email 'goof-up'

Mared Foulkes received an email informing that she had scored 39 percent and failed, when, in fact, she had passed with a score of 62 percent. The statement regarding her failure attributing to the 39 percent score was regarding a previous exam she had taken earlier this year in March, and NOT the re-exam she had taken and passed.

Mared Foulkes 'blamed the university' for her death

Mared Foulkes' mother, Iona Foulkes spoke during the inquest and 'blamed the university' for her daughter's death, saying that it was "plain and simple" that Mared's actions the day of her death were a "direct result" of receiving the mail from the university. "She received an automatic email - there was nothing personal, no phone call, nothing," Iona Foulkes said. "She believed she had failed and the email said she could not progress with her degree. She would have felt like all her dreams and aspirations had finished with that sentence - for a 21-year-old it's unbelievable," she added.
Mrs Foulkes emphasized that her daughter's course tutor should have been in contact with her regarding the results and added that even the parents should be made aware when the exam results are due.

What happened on July 8?

Mared Foulkes went to work at Rowlands Pharmacy in Caernarfon in the morning after having been for a run. She returned home for dinner with her parents and brother at around 6 pm. Foulkes then told her mom she needed some ingredients to make a cheesecake the next day and she was heading off to Tesco in Bangor. After leaving the house, Foulkes drove to Britannia Bridge that links Anglesey with Bangor. The inquest heard that she was seen getting out of her car and walking to the side of the bridge before 'disappearing'.

A witness of the incident, Anwen Jones told the inquest that she saw Mared Foulkes while driving Anglesey with her 10-year-old son. According to Jones, Foulkes showed show 'no hesitation' in her actions. "She just went up and over in a split second - there was no stopping and thinking. She just disappeared." Mared Foulkes was declared dead on the scene by emergency services that were called by the public. A post-mortem report later stated that she sustained a lethal head injury in the fall.

Mared Foulkes' mother noted at the inquest that neither her daughter mentioned that she received an email stating she had failed, nor did she show any signs of feeling down in hours leading up to her death. She had been, however, upset over her grandmother's death.

This article was first published on October 29, 2021