Family blast uni after daughter, 21, killed herself when she was wrongly told she had failed exam

THE family of a student who killed herself after wrongly being told she had failed an exam have blasted her university.

Mared Foulkes was devastated when an email arrived to say she had not passed a test allowing her to move onto the third year of her pharmacy degree.

Cardiff University later updated the 21-year-old's grade to a pass – but she never saw the improved result.

Fewer than 12 hours after receiving her initial automated mark, Mared was found dead under a bridge.

The university's Vice Chancellor has since apologised to her parents Iona and Glyngwyn Foulkes, vowing to simplifying the exam process.

But at the inquest into her death, Iona said the "awful" lack of help from the university led "directly" to it.

"She received an automatic email – there was nothing personal – no phone call, nothing," she said.

"She believed she had failed and the email said she could not progress with her degree.

"To be informed that you can't progress, with no contact from the university, would have been awful for anyone, let alone a 21-year-old student.

"She'd have been horrified that the university she loved, the course she loved, would state that.

"All her dreams and aspirations were finished with that sentence."

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Iona added that all she and her family have been left with are "memories in photo albums" showing her "kindness and other fine qualities".

"Certainties are no longer part of our lives, we cry easily and often," she added.

"Our tears are uncontrollable and exhausting when unprompted memories remind us we are totally bereft.

"Parents should not have to drive by their daughter's grave on their way to and from work."

Vice Chancellor Prof Colin Riordan today apologised "absolutely".

"I'm deeply sorry for this sequence of events. It's a devastating set of circumstances and I absolutely understand the family's need for answers to their questions," he said.

"I'm very happy of course to speak to Mared's parents, if that's what they would like.

"I acknowledge we have improvements to make, we have learned from the coroner's report and we will make sure those improvements are made.

"Exam results will be communicated in a way which leaves no room for confusion in the future."


The automated email Mared received did not take into account her resit mark – and her score was later updated to a pass.

Mared, of Menai Bridge, Anglesey, was found dead on July 8, 2020.

An inquest in Caernarfon heard one email stated that she had failed with a score of 39 per cent – when she had actually passed with 62 per cent.

Acting North West Wales Coroner, Katie Sutherland, returned a conclusion of suicide and wrote to the university urging the to clarify the results system.

Mared's parents said they were "encouraged" the university was making changes.

They told BBC Wales: "We believe that all students will benefit from such significant changes and they may even save some young lives.

"Cardiff University can be better because of Mared."

However they said they "wished for the courtesy and humanity of a personal apology".

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.

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