Tributes pour in for ‘beloved’ university student who died after suspected spider bite

His flatmates had reported a ‘spider infestation’, an inquest heard

A second year university student died of sepsis after a suspected spider bite, an inquest has heard.

19-year-old Hull student, Harry Bolton, was found having passed away four days after he’d said he felt unwell.

A coroner was told that Harry’s flatmates had reported a “spider infestation” in their student accommodation, but an inspection found nothing unusual, the BBC reports.

Paramedics said there was a wound the size of a £1 coin on Harry’s back.

One of Harry’s flatmates said he’d had a similar bite on his neck a couple of months before, saying the wound had become so painful he couldn’t move his neck. A GP had prescribed the flatmate antibiotics to clear the infection.

The flatmate had then emailed their student accommodation, Ashcourt Student Housing, about a problem with spiders, but the inquest heard that an inspection by a maintenance team found no infestation.

Harry died on 7th October last year. On 3rd October he had gone to hospital with a high temperature, and a blood test showed inflammation but doctors found nothing that indicated high risk. He self-discharged from hospital the next afternoon, and was seen by his housemates the next day.

Security staff later forced entry to Harry’s room after concerns were raised when he had not replied to friends’ messages.

The Bluebell Inn, where Harry had worked, said he “illuminated the pub with his trademark smile and magnetic cheekiness” and “deeply touched the lives of everyone around him”.

The pub’s staff have started a fundraising page in remembrance of Harry, which has raised over £1,600 for the National Eczema Society. They call him a “beloved colleague and friend”.

Tributes have been paid to Harry by dozens of people donating to the fundraiser include. One says: “That warm welcome, mischievous sense of humour will be missed but never forgotten”, and another says: “Harry made a real, positive difference to everyone he met. A true and loyal friend”.

Another calls Harry a “lovely modest, clever lad” who will be “greatly missed by us all”.

Senior coroner Professor Paul Marks concluded Harry Bolton died “from sepsis due to an acute chest infection due to an infected wound on his back”. He said: “Had he not been bitten by the invertebrate, possibly a spider, he would not have died at that time.”

In a statement issued following the inquest, a spokesperson for Ashcourt Student Housing said they had fully co-operated with the coroner’s investigation and did not wish to “stray beyond the coroner’s conclusions”.

They said: “Notably, the coroner did not feel the need to make a report to prevent future deaths having conducted a thorough investigation and heard the evidence at the inquest. Our thoughts remain with Harry Bolton’s family at this difficult time.”

The NHS website says bites from spiders are uncommon in the UK, but some native spiders, for example the false widow spider, can give bites which can be painful and cause redness or swelling. It says: “Bites can also become infected or cause a severe allergic reaction in rare cases. Get medical help immediately if you have any severe or worrying symptoms after a spider bite.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone or contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, Mind on 0300 123 3393, and Calm (Campaign against living miserably) on 0800 58 58 58. You matter.

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Featured image via Just Giving