Max Mian, 19, had taken Ketamine and MDMA before scaling the tall Westgate Shopping Centre in the city centre
An Oxford University student who had been on a drug binge fell to his death after climbing up a new shopping centre development and falling off, an inquest heard.
Max Mian, 19, had taken ketamine and MDMA before scaling the tall Westgate Shopping Centre in the city centre in October last year.
The teenage student had told a friend he wanted to explore the building site. Mr Mian left his flat at 3.30am, after spending the night at the pub.
He was found by a construction worker early the next morning, lying on the floor outside a John Lewis store.
An inquest heard Mr Mian, a second year Classics undergraduate at Brasenose College, Oxford, began to worry about the amount of money he was spending on drugs, according to close friends.
A post-mortem examination ruled he had died from a number of injuries from falling a moderate height. Other injuries may have been masked by the fall.
The court also heard that Mr Mian had been known to scale structures while under the influence of drugs.
Robyn Salt, a close friend and flat mate of Mr Mian, described the events leading up to his death to the coroner.
She said: ‘We had come back to Oxford on the first of February to begin our second year at Oxford. Max was worrying a bit about the work ahead but no more than a usual person would be.
‘He was also worried about how much money he was spending on recreational drugs and mentioned how he thought it was getting out of control. When under the influence before, he would jump on bus shelters and climb things regularly. His drug of choice was ketamine.
‘That night we went out to Wetherspoons and while in the pub he asked if he could borrow one of my keys so he could take ketamine. He didn’t appear affected by it though, I know he had built up a tolerance to it.
‘He had said previously that he wanted to enter the (Westgate) building site as he would love the adventure.
‘I left and went back to the flat and was in the kitchen making some toast. Max came out of his room and was hungry so had some too. He went and played Grand Theft Auto on his Playstation.
‘He seemed moody but this was not out of character and he just looked very sleepy. He was planning to have a freshers party the next day before we went to a club.
‘I went to sleep and when I woke up in the morning Max wasn’t in his room and I just thought he had gone to rehearsals.’
The inquest in Oxford was told however that it could not be confirmed whether the presence of Ketamine had a direct effect on Mr Mian
It was not mentioned in the hearing whether he had been involved in any ‘free running’ prior to his death.
Electrician Tommy Whittle found the body on October 2 at 6.50am while on his way to work.
He said: ‘I was taking my usual route across the site and passed John Lewis on the ground floor. As I was walking I saw a body directly outside John Lewis. It showed no signs of life and I immediately called 999. Police arrived around five minutes later.’
Sergeant Neil Streeter described to the inquest what he saw, saying: ‘I found a man on the ground outside the main John Lewis entrance in the courtyard part of the Westgate Shopping Centre. It was a building site with various materials and machinery around.’
A toxicology report found a low level amount of alcohol in his system, along with 257mg of Ketamine and MDMA. Both drugs are often abused for their euphoric effects and can cause delerium.
The inquest in Oxford was told it could not be confirmed whether the presence of ketamine had a direct effect on Max. The second-year student had no significant medical history and no previous problems.
Police constable Sarah Williams told coroner Darren Salter that she checked CCTV coverage of the area but found nothing of note.
Mr Mian was found outside a John Lewis near the building site of the Westgate shopping centre in Oxford
An artists concept of the Westgate shopping centre in Oxford. Mr Mian was found near the building site of the centre
Paramedics confirmed that Mr Mian was dead upon their arrival.
A statement was read to the inquest on behalf of Max’s parents, Shah and Helen Mian. They said: ‘Max was a wonderful son. Intellectually, he was very bright and he had made many friendships at Norwich School and at college, who have both made fitting tributes.
‘He is much missed. He had worked and played hard at university, perhaps burning the candle a bit much at both ends. He treated the summer at the end of his first year as a gap year and went on holiday with his friends to Vietnam before a family holiday to Sicily.
‘We took Max back to Oxford on February 1 ahead of his next term. He was a little nervous but was looking forward to the challenge. He was soon bouncing around with his friends and looked happy.
‘We were not aware of Max taking drugs apart from that he had mentioned he had the odd joint at parties. We were aware of three occasions where Max had climbed buildings and we had told him this was risky behaviour.
Max Mian was a second year Classics undergraduate at Brasenose College, Oxford
‘We do not believe he would have taken his own life and this was a tragic accident.’
Coroner Mr Salter recorded a verdict of accidental death, adding: ‘He had fallen to the ground. Unfortunately we do not know the whole circumstances of where this was from, or whether he was climbing up or down the building.
‘But he has fallen from a considerable height, whereabouts is difficult to say. He did not access the building from the inside, but there are possible areas he could have climbed up.
‘There is no evidence of any suicidal intent, but more to the point there was cause for concern from family and friends with his risk taking behaviour.
‘It is difficult to be precise on the effects the drugs had. It is different for people with different tolerances. The ketamine is obviously more relevant due to the amount described but this level is typically found with recreational use.
‘The side effects of delirium, hallucinations and irrational behaviour are a concern but I cannot comment on the effects experienced in the death.
‘They are likely to be relevant here and account for Max’s behaviour that leads to the conclusion of an accident. There is no evidence of suicide and it is a tragic accident.’
John Browers, Principal of Brasenose College, said: ‘We are all still shocked and saddened by this tragic accident. Max was a popular member of the college community and an excellent student.’
President of the Brasenose Junior Common Room, Manish Binukrishnan, said: ‘Max quickly established himself among the students as a friend to many, standing out with his humour, friendliness and compassion. His death was truly saddening and the Brasenose JCR community has come together to mourn his loss and give our thoughts to his family and friends.’