A BRIGHT student plagued by social anxiety died in her flat at Durham University after taking a drugs overdose, an inquest heard.

Jessica Cawley had completed two years of her physics degree and felt her coursework and exams had gone well so was planning to proceed to the third year, after returning to home to Kent for the summer.

But on Saturday, June 10, the 19-year-old was found dead in her flat at Brooks House student accommodation in Durham.

A post mortem found she had several non-prescribed drugs in her blood including fentanil, a potent opioid.

The inquest, held at Crook Coroner’s Court yesterday, heard that Jessica had a history of social anxiety and eating disorders and was known to buy drugs on the dark web.

Her boyfriend Harry Reeve had desperately tried to help her, attending medical appointments and insisting she did not open mail which could contain drugs alone.

A check of text messages and internet searches on her mobile phone and laptop revealed she was researching and purchasing drugs online and that Mr Reeve was checking up on her regularly.

One message from him read: “Sorry for trying to keep you alive.”

In the weeks before her death, Jessica had been to her GP and was referred to mental health services and though she missed some appointments she saw a mental health nurse on June 8.

She said had suffered suicidal thoughts but had no intention of acting on them and the main concern related to her bulimia as she was severely underweight.

Mr Reeve told police the couple had been together until around 8pm the day before her death.

He became concerned when she failed to answer his calls the next morning so he went to her flat and got security to help him gain access which is when he found her body.

Since Jessica’s death, her family has learnt she may have used non-prescribed antidepressants to try to deal with anxiety towards the end of secondary school.

Brother Michael Cawley said the family believed she had taken her life but was left with many questions about why, particularly after accessing mental health services so recently.

He said: “Why after many, many, many months, perhaps years of struggling with social anxiety she chose that particular time - after exams were completed, she’d got through college, she had done well, with one more or two more years of university left, what catalyst caused her to take that catastrophic decision to take fentanil I do not now and don’t think we will ever know.”

He also questioned whether the police investigation should have tried to have identified the source of drugs, but Detective Sergeant Gary Davison said the dark web is encrypted making it difficult to access and she had been alone in her flat and taken the drugs and drank wine herself.

She had also left a note which read like a suicide note, said the detective.

Concluding Jessica’s death was due to a mixed drugs overdose, coroner Jeremy Chipperfield said he had no doubt she carried out the action which caused her death but could not be sure that was her intention.

Elizabeth Moody, director of nursing and governance at Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of Ms Cawley at this sad time. We always carry out a review when someone receiving our care dies and this includes speaking to families to see how we could do things differently in the future. There are always improvements we can make to our services and we welcome feedback from families and friends to help us do this.”