Paddington student found dead in Serpentine after celebrating exams

Yen Soh had told friends he wanted to jump in the Hyde Park lake

A Paddington student was found dead in the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park weeks after telling friends he wanted to jump in to celebrate his exams, an inquest heard this week.

Imperial College student Yen Zhen Anthony Soh, 18, had been playing drinking games with friends in the student union bar on March 22 when he disappeared at the end of the night, saying he would run back to his halls in Wilson House, Sussex Gardens.

A police hunt was launched the following day when he failed to return home but it was more than two weeks before his body was found in the lake by a woman and young child on a pedalo.

His friend Anthony Foon Lum Tsoi said Mr Soh had previously told him how he wanted to “either jump or swim in the Serpentine” –which he passed daily en route to college – when his exams finished.

On the night of his disappearance, the first year mechanical engineering student had been at an “all you can drink” party in South Kensington, where students paid �7 for as much beer as they wanted.

Westminster Coroners Court heard Mr Soh had downed two pints of lager in quick succession as part of a drinking game but a post mortem report revealed he had only consumed three or four pints during the night.

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Mr Soh, who was known to take caffeine pills and the mood-enhancing drug modafinil, was described as “increasingly hyper” and “jumping from person to person” by the end of the evening.

On leaving the bar at about 10.30pm, Mr Tsoi said his friend started running up and down the street until the group managed to control him. He then disappeared and they assumed he had gone home.

The alarm was raised the following day and a missing person investigation launched before his body was found on April 6. A post mortem concluded he died from immersion, with the cold water freezing his muscles immediately from shock and causing almost instant death.

Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox said: “There has been no evidence of how Mr Soh ended up in the Serpentine – whether he slipped in by accident or whether he deliberately jumped in. Either way I’m certain that he died as the result of an accident.”

She added: “This is no doubt an absolutely tragic loss of life of such a young man at the brink of his life.”