An inquiry has been opened into the death of KU student Oliver Giddings who died from suffocation.

Inquest into Kingston student death

Words by Olivia Heath and Amy McCullough

The mother of a 22-year-old Kingston University student has spoken for the first time about her grief and the mystery that surrounds her son’s death.

The body of Oliver Giddings was discovered by a passer-by in Twickenham’s Crane Park Island last year. An inquest was opened and adjourned after hearing the cause of death was suffocation caused by a plastic bag.

Oliver’s mother, Janet, 54, of Twickenham, said: “There was some speculation of suicide,” but she added: “I don’t think he would be capable of something like that.

“Oliver was a very optimistic person. He was very bright, two years above average in his schoolwork. He was like sunshine.”

Mrs Giddings said: “He was a complex person. He tried his hand at everything and succeeded. He had so much to live for. We were always close. He had friends and things that he would talk to, but he was always very hard to talk to, very hard to get things out of.”

Oliver, who studied information technology as a joint course with Kingston University and Richmond College, was reported missing to the police on December 16 and was found almost two weeks later on December 29 last year.

Tributes to the Kingston University student, who had a passion for computers, have flooded in from friends following his death on a Facebook group page.

Oliver’s friend, Millie Pardoe wrote: “Don’t even know what to say. Just in pure shock. Miss you already buddy.”

James Arnold wrote: “I feel like a huge chunk of me is missing. I wish everyone would stop bickering and pointing the finger. We are all in pain.”

Mr Arnold continued: “You had time for everyone and you cared, you cared about everything and everyone.”

Oliver, who passed exams with “flying colours”, was due to receive a scholarship for his IT studies just a month after he died.

Judy May, IT course director at Richmond College, said: “Oliver was a popular member of all the classes he took and is fondly remembered by all the staff. 

“In losing Oliver not only have we lost a lovely young man but a unique and original thinker,” she said.

“He was far from a standard student and could be relied upon to make us look at the subject matter from a different perspective and could lead a class discussion into unexpected avenues.”

Oliver’s father also spoke of his devastation over the loss of his son.

“He was very lovable. He had been in hospital recently and there had been queues of people waiting to see him,” said Allister Giddings.

Oliver’s funeral took place last month at Hanworth Crematorium. A week later, friends held a memorial for him at Twickenham’s Crane Park Island.

Mrs Giddings remains hopeful that the inquest later this year will solve the mystery surrounding Oliver’s death.

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