Cambridge graduate died after underwater 'party trick' went wrong at brother's 21st birthday party

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Cambridge graduate Dominic Hamlyn (pictured with mother Geraldine Hamlyn) died after an underwater swimming challenge at his family home in Canterbury (PA)

A “fit and healthy” Cambridge graduate died following an underwater swimming challenge he had performed “since he was a child”, an inquest has heard.

Dominic Hamlyn, 24, became unresponsive while swimming in a pool during his brother Benedict’s 21st birthday party at the family home in Crundale, Kent, in the early hours of July 28 last year.

He had swum about two-and-a-half laps while holding his breath before he stopped moving.

Dominic was taken to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, but died later that evening.

Dominic's father Peter Hamlyn told an inquest he had been performing the same "party trick" since he was a child (PA)

On Thursday, during an inquest into the student’s death his father - neurosurgeon Peter Hamlyn - said his son had often performed the same "party trick".

Mr Hamlyn told the Maidstone-based hearing: "It was an entirely routine thing which I had seen him do since he was a child."

The neurosurgeon said his son had been unresponsive “for seconds rather than minutes" before being pulled out of the pool.

Coroner Scott Matthewson said the Cambridge graduate had a pre-existing heart condition and died from acute cardiac arrhythmia - known as "sudden adult death syndrome".

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Mr Hamlyn and Dominic’s mother Geraldine held hands and wept as the assistant coroner gave his ruling, which acknowledged the differences in medical opinion.

“Nobody could have, or will ever with any certainty, say what the medical cause was in Dominic’s death,” Mr Matthewson told the coroner’s court.

Dominic was rushed to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent on July 28, where he died later that evening (PA)

Mr Hamlyn, who gave his son mouth-to-mouth when he was pulled from the pool, described the graduate as a “beautiful, beautiful boy”.

He said: “Why did he die? He was a superb athlete competing in both rugby and rowing at Cambridge. We are broken. If Dominic is to be remembered, it is as a hero and one of the world’s helpers.”

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