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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Despairing final message of tragic Rachel, 22, whose mobile phone was stolen after she laying dying after 80ft fall

By James Tozer

★Philosophy student tweeted final message to friends
★Drug addicted thief sold her phone for £20
★Police describe their 'shock and disgust' at the crime

A student whose phone was stolen as she lay dying after falling from a car park had posted a despairing quotation from a philosopher on Twitter hours before her death, it emerged yesterday.

Former public schoolgirl Rachel Jardine, 22, suffered fatal injuries after plunging 80ft, but as a passer-by tried to comfort her, callous drug addict Ben Heney took her phone, later selling it for £20.

Just an hour-and-a-half before her death, the philosophy student posted a poignant line from Jean-Paul Sartre to friends through her page on the social networking website.

It read: ‘Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.’

Friends and family of Miss Jardine were yesterday too distraught to talk, but an investigation is likely to examine whether she felt under pressure in her master’s course at the University of Manchester.

On Tuesday, the day before her death, she had posted that she couldn’t ‘deal with professors that love some students and give them loads of help and are reluctant to even lend me a book’.

In another Twitter message this week, the student, from Bristol, had written: ‘I love you Manchester, but you’re bringing me down.’

Also that day she wrote ‘all sorts of things coming to an end today’, including a reference to turning 22, and ‘the slow and painful start of another essay’.

Earlier this month she referred on the website to climbing out of a window on to the fourth-floor balcony of a university building, adding: ‘Am bored rebel.’ Miss Jardine is understood to have been using her distinctive pink mobile phone to call her mother Annette moments before she died.

Tragic: Philosophy student Rachel Jardine died after jumping from a multi-storey car park

She was found lying on the ground beside the five-storey Chorlton Street coach station in the centre of Manchester at about 12.45am on Wednesday.

In a theft branded ‘unforgivable’ by police, Heney then stole her phone, which contained contact details for many of her friends, making it more difficult for them to be informed about the death.

When he was arrested the following day, the 23-year-old, of Hulme, Manchester, had already sold the phone to buy drugs. He was jailed for 12 weeks on Thursday after admitting theft.

Following a police appeal, the phone was later handed anonymously to a local newspaper reporter and returned to her family.

The University of Manchester Students’ Union last night issued a tribute to Miss Jardine, describing her as ‘an active and valued member’ of its community.

And friends left messages expressing their shock on social websites. One wrote: ‘Things will never be the same without you.’ Another said: ‘I can’t believe what has happened.’

Rachel had attended £15,000-a-year Badminton School, near Bristol. Her mother, Annette, is an ENT consultant and her father, Philip, a paediatric neurologist.

Last night, at the family’s £700,000 home in the Clifton area of the city, 52-year-old Mr Jardine said he was too upset to comment on his daughter’s death.

Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and confirmed an inquest will be held.

The University of Manchester did not comment, but sources there said every indication had been that Miss Jardine was happy in her course.

Scene of the tragedy: Miss Jardine died from her injuries after plunging 80ft from this car park in Manchester city centre in the early hours of Wednesday



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