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Britain’s top neurosurgeon pays tribute to ‘beautiful’ Cambridge University student son

One of Britain’s top neurosurgeons has paid tribute to his ‘beautiful’ son who suffered a sudden heart attack in an outdoor swimming pool at his brother’s 21st birthday party.  

Peter Hamlyn has said he is ‘broken’ after the death of his ‘hero’ son Dominic, who got into difficulties at the £3.5million family home outside the Kent village of Crundale, near Canterbury.

Paramedics were called at 3.30am yesterday and the Cambridge University graduate was taken to hospital where he died.

Today his father said: ‘We are broken. If he is to be remembered it is as a hero and one of the world’s helpers.’ 

Mr Hamlyn revealed that his son swam just two lengths before sinking to the bottom of the pool, and that was ‘almost sober’ and not on any drugs.

One of Britain’s top neurosurgeons has paid tribute to his ‘beautiful’ son who suffered a sudden heart attack in an outdoor swimming pool at his brother’s 21st birthday party

Dominic Hamlyn was visiting his home outside the village of Crundale, Kent, when suffered a heart attack in the outdoor swimming pool

Dominic is the son of Peter Hamlyn, a celebrated neurosurgeon

Dominic Hamlyn was visiting his home outside the village of Crundale, Kent, when suffered a heart attack in the outdoor swimming pool. He is the son of neurosurgeon Peter Hamlyn (right)

Dominic got into difficulties in the family's swimming pool (circled) in the grounds of his father's Kent mansion

Dominic got into difficulties in the family’s swimming pool (circled) in the grounds of his father’s Kent mansion

Just 15 minutes before he entered the pool, the promising graduate had delivered a speech praising his brother. 

Speaking of his ‘beautiful boy’, Mr Hamlyn said: ‘There is no mystery, there were no drugs.

‘He was swimming in his swimming trunks, almost sober. He had just spoken for 15 minutes without notes. He completed two lengths and then sank to the bottom.

‘It was his youngest brother’s 21st and shortly after giving a brilliant speech about him, Dominic went swimming with friends.

‘He was immediately pulled from the water and a medical student started performing CPR until I came a minute later to take over.’

What is Sudden Death Syndrome? 

Sudden Death Syndrome is the name given to heart attacks in seemingly fit and healthy young people.

It has a number of causes including heart defects or inflammation of the heart muscle.

Being sporty does not cause cardiac arrest itself but can exacerbate an underlying problem.

In March 2012, Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch during Tottenham’s FA Cup quarter-final against Bolton.

The Bolton midfielder, then 24, ‘died’ for 78 minutes after his heart stopped, but he was saved by 15 defibrillator shocks.

Mr Hamlyn confirmed that an ambulance had arrived promptly and his son was stabilised and rushed to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent.

‘Two consultants worked on him throughout the night,’ he added in a statement.

‘A specialist team came from St Thomas to put him on a bypass. He died last night despite all their efforts. There will be an inquest but he clearly had a heart attack – a brain scan ruled out a haemorrhage. Their brilliance at resuscitation is our only comfort.

‘Why did he die? He was a superb athlete competing in both rugby and rowing at Cambridge.

‘It is called Sudden Death in Athletes or sometimes Sudden Athlete Death – SAD. It is a rare often fatal cardiac syndrome. What the footballer [Fabrice Muamba] had and survived. Not our beautiful, beautiful boy.

‘We are broken. If he is to be remembered it is as a hero and one of the world’s helpers.’

Dominic had a first class degree in astrophysics from University College London and  a Masters in philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

His father Peter is a celebrated neurosurgeon who became a household name after saving the life of boxer Michael Watson, who suffered a blood clot formed on his brain minutes after his world title fight with Chris Eubank in 1991.  

Dominic ran the London Marathon in 2014 and raised more than £5,500 for Britain’s Brain & Spine Foundation charity and was pictured with Leicester and England rugby star Tom Croft.

He wrote on his fundraising page how he had been inspired to do it because of his father and his famous patient Michael Watson.   

He said: ‘When I was a young boy I helped my father fund raising. He he and his patient, the injured boxer Michael Watson, along with his carer Lenny, walked the London marathon for the Brain and Spine Foundation. It took them six days and I swore when I was old enough I would run it; in the words of Michael, ‘for the benefit of others less fortunate than me’. 

Dominic Hamlyn poses with Leicester and England rugby star Tom Croft ahead of his 2014 London Marathon

Dominic Hamlyn poses with Leicester and England rugby star Tom Croft ahead of his 2014 London Marathon 

Dominic Hamlyn

Dominic Hamlyn

Dominic Hamlyn (pictured left and right) had enjoyed academic success studying astrophysics at University College London and then on to Cambridge for a Masters in philosophy

He added: ‘In my village five young children have just lost their mother to a brain tumour, one family cares for their daughter permanently disabled by a head injury. One of my best friends lost his dad to a stroke. My baby cousin, Maria, died of a disorder that stopped her brain developing’.

He said he wanted to raise money and awareness of neurological disorders, adding that ‘dementia was darkening the life of several neighbours.’

Peter Hamlyn’s eldest son is keen sportsman was one of the stars of UCL’s Varsity winning rugby team in 2017. 

A light-hearted description of him in UCL’s student newspaper The Tab said at the time: ‘With the physique of Eric Pickles, belligerence of Nigel Farage and the loyalty of Michael Gove, Dom hopes to power UCL to victory to finally record a noteworthy achievement at University and step out of his father’s shadow’. 

A spokesman for Kent Police said: ‘Police were called to a house in Crundale, Canterbury at 3.37am on Sunday following an incident in a swimming pool where a man was found unconscious. The man was taken to hospital where he later died.

‘Police are investigating the circumstances around the incident and at this stage the man’s death is being treated as unexplained.’   

Dominic Hamlyn was visiting his isolated home in the tiny village of Crundale, Kent, when he got into difficulties in the outdoor swimming pool.

Emergency ambulance crews rushed to the sprawling home after 999 calls reporting the potential drowning just after 3.30am on Sunday morning. 

Paramedics found Dominic unconscious beside the swimming pool and began attempting to save his life with CPR.

The talented graduate, who was also an amateur rugby player, was rushed by an ambulance to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford where he was pronounced dead.

Dominic, the eldest child of world class neurological and spinal surgeon Peter Hamlyn who specialises in elite sports injuries, originally studied at University College London where he received a First Class Honours degree in science and engineering.

The alarm was raised at 3.30am today after it was believed the young man drowned during party at the huge isolated home, in Crundale, Kent (pictured)

The alarm was raised at 3.30am today after it was believed the young man drowned during party at the huge isolated home, in Crundale, Kent (pictured)

Following in his father’s footsteps, the Spanish speaking budding entrepreneur was elected sports officer during his undergraduate degree representing the sporting interests of more than 40,000 students before going on to study a Masters degree in Philosophy at the world-renowned University of Cambridge. 

A pathologist will carry out a post-mortem examination on Dominic’s body to ascertain the exact cause of his death, within the next few days.  

The coroner in Canterbury confirmed that details of Dominic’s death had been passed to them and that an inquest would be opened and adjourned in the near future.

A spokesman for Kent Police said: 'Police were called to a house in Crundale, Canterbury at 3.37am on Sunday following an incident in a swimming pool where a man was found unconscious. The man was taken to hospital where he later died'

A spokesman for Kent Police said: ‘Police were called to a house in Crundale, Canterbury at 3.37am on Sunday following an incident in a swimming pool where a man was found unconscious. The man was taken to hospital where he later died’

Almost 30 years ago, Dominic’s father, consultant neuro-surgeon Peter Hamlyn, carried out life-saving operations on the former Commonwealth middleweight boxing title holder Michael Watson after a blood clot formed on his brain minutes after his world title fight with Chris Eubank.

Mr Hamlyn performed five live-saving operations on the near-fatal blood clot on the boxer’s brain and his survival is now regarded as a ‘medical miracle.’

A spokesman for University College London said of Dominic Hamlyn this afternoon: ‘We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the death of a much-loved and talented member of our alumni community. 

‘Our thoughts are with all of his family and friends at this difficult time.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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