Family explosion after daughter, 21, commits suicide after being falsely informed that she failed her exam

The family of a student who committed suicide after being falsely informed that she had failed an exam blew up her university.

Mared Foulkes was disappointed when an email arrived informing her that she had failed to pass a test that would allow her to move on to the third year of her pharmacy degree.

Mared Foulkes committed suicide after receiving the wrong college grades


Mared Foulkes committed suicide after receiving the wrong college gradesCredit: Wales News Service
Her mother has said her death was'directly' linked to Cardiff University email


Her mother has said her death was ‘directly’ linked to Cardiff University emailCredit: Wales News Service

Cardiff University then updated the 21-year-old’s score to pass – but she never saw an improvement.

Less than 12 hours after receiving the initial automark, Mared was found dead under a bridge.

The university’s vice chancellor has since apologized to her parents Iona and Glyngwyn Foulkes, vowing to simplify the exam process.

But at the inquest into her death, Iona said a “horrible” lack of help from the university led to it “directly”.

“She got an automated email – nothing personal – no phone calls, nothing,” she said.

“She believed she had failed and the email said she couldn’t progress with her degree.

“Being told you can’t progress, with no contact from university, would be terrible for anyone, let alone a 21-year-old student.

“She was horrified when her favorite university, the course she loved, made such a statement.

“All her dreams and aspirations ended with that sentence.”

Iona added that all she and her family are left with are “photo album memories” that show her “kindness and other good qualities”.

She added: “Drunks are no longer a part of our lives, we cry easily and often.

“Our tears are uncontrollable and exhausting as unstoppable memories remind us that we are completely lost.

“Parents should not drive past their daughter’s grave on the way to and from work.”

Deputy Prime Minister, Professor Colin Riordan today apologized “absolutely”.

“I am deeply sorry for this chain of events. It was a devastating situation and I completely understand the need for the family to have answers to their questions,” he said.

“Of course, I’d be happy to talk to Mared’s parents, if that’s what they want.

“I acknowledge that we have improvements to make, we have learned from the coroner’s report, and we will make sure those improvements are made.

“Exam results will be communicated in a way that leaves no room for confusion in the future.”


The automated email Mared received did not take into account her retest score – and her score was later updated to pass.

Mared, of Menai Bridge, Anglesey, was found dead on July 8, 2020.

An investigation in Caernarfon heard an email saying she had failed with a score of 39% – when she actually passed with 62%.

Action North West Wales Coroner, Katie Sutherland, returned the suicide conclusion and wrote to the university asking for clarification of the results system.

Mared’s parents said they were “encouraged” the university was making the changes.

They told BBC Wales: “We believe all students will benefit from such important changes and they may even save some young lives.

“Cardiff could be better because of Mared.”

However, they said they “want the courtesy and humanity of a personal apology”.

If you are affected by any of the issues outlined in this article, please call the Samaritans toll free on 116123. Family explosion after daughter, 21, commits suicide after being falsely informed that she failed her exam

Bobby Allyn

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