A highly-regarded Doctor of Philosophy from Falmouth who returned to prestigious Oxford University to study to become a teacher, was found hanged in his halls of residence, a coroner was told yesterday (Wednesday).

Dr Simon Kay returned to the elite university – having graduated from St Andrews with a Masters distinction in comparative literature and a PhD – to study for his PGCE at St John's College, Oxford.

Tragically, the 29-year-old was discovered hanged in his university halls on February 6 this year before he had completed the course, it was revealed at an inquest opening.

The coroner heard how emergency crews received a 999 call at 10pm and rushed to his student accommodation where he had been found hanged from a door.

The keen sailor was cut down from his position and went into cardiac arrest, the coroner heard. Paramedics scrambled to get the young man, of King Charles Street, Falmouth, to the John Radcliffe Hospital for urgent treatment.

However, it became clear that the "much-valued" student had suffered a severe hypoxic brain injury and he was pronounced dead on February 9 at 2.48pm by Dr David Garry.

The inquest opening heard that he was identified by his mother, Pauline Kay.

Paying tribute to their son, his parents said: "Simon was a much-loved – and loving – son and brother. He achieved many goals in his life. He flew so high, sailed so far and he continues to inspire us. Please celebrate Simon’s life and raise a glass in his memory."

Mr Kay had graduated from the University of Oxford with an undergraduate degree before studying for his Masters at St Andrews University in Scotland.

He graduated his Mlitt (Master of Letters) with top grades gaining a distinction in 2013 before continuing to study for his PhD, graduating in 2017 as a Doctor of Philosophy in Modern Languages. He returned to Oxford University to study for his PGCE teaching qualification, but sadly never finished it.

Professor Maggie Snowling, president of St John’s College, said: "It is with deep sadness that we confirm that Dr Simon Kay, a former undergraduate and current PGCE student at St John’s College, died recently in the John Radcliffe Hospital. Our thoughts and condolences are with Simon’s parents and his family and close friends at this extremely difficult time.

"Simon was a much-valued and well-liked member of St John’s. Widely travelled and a keen sailor, members of the College will miss his dry humour and his reading in chapel. We are offering support to those at the College who have been affected by his death."

Sitting at Oxford Coroner's Court, Darren Salter set the date for the full inquest as June 4.