UEA student drowned after smoking weed, inquest hears

His housemate claimed he was “anxious about life after university”


A 25-year-old UEA student drowned in Broad Lake on campus after smoking weed, an inquest heard on Friday.

Nicholas Sadler, at the time a fourth year film and television student, disappeared from his student house in Norwich on February 8 last year.

His body was found by police in the lake on February 19. He had not left a suicide note, did not mention suicidal thoughts before his death and had previously sought guidance when he needed it, noted Norfolk's senior coroner, Jacqueline Lake.

His father, William Sadler, said in a statement that his son had suffered from anxiety since the age of 18 and was prescribed anti-depressants.

On the night of his death, CCTV footage saw Nicholas walking "purposefully" towards the lake at 4am on February 8. His phone, wallet and keys were left in his house and he was wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

Speaking to court, a housemate of his, Kieron Woodcock, had "noticed him becoming more anxious again about life after university", Mrs Lake said.

"There was evidence he smoked cannabis on the evening before his disappearance and it's not known what effect this would have had on his state of mind."

During his time at UEA, Mrs Lake noted that Nicholas "took full advantage of these services" and that "help and support was made available to him by the university."

The court heard that Nicholas' mentor, Duncan Yuile, met with him "almost weekly" following his arrival at UEA in 2015.

He noted that the last time he met with him, on February 6, he appeared "more agitated than usual", although he "had no concern for Nick's safety during this session."

Mr Sadler's father reported his son "normalising" the recreational use of weed in their conversations and discussing the use of drugs on a holiday to Amsterdam.

"He would use artists as a reference of how cannabis expands your mind. I do believe that drug use played a part in the death of Nick," he said.

His father in the inquest had described his son as a "wonderful child". He also said it had been a "privilege to have him as a son."

"He was so supportive of everyone and wanted to help everyone, and he couldn't understand why the world was not like that with him."

"He loved people, and he loved cats – he was mad on animals generally. He was kind – I never had an argument with him. I knew he would have made a lovely father, but he won't have that chance."