An inquest began this week into the death of Toby Rundle, an LMH student who was found hanged in his room last October.The inquest heard that the night before his death, Rundle had been drinking at the college bar with some friends, before going to the Oxford nightclub, Escape. Upon returning to college, he went to the room of Clement Knox, a fellow LMH student and friend of Rundle’s, which he refused to leave. Knox told the inquest that Rundle was “being quite mischievous”, lying in his bed pretending to be asleep.Knox explained that he dragged Rundle out of his room at about 2.30am, and that he was apologetic when he realised he had annoyed his friend. Knox found Rundle’s body later that afternoon, when other students became suspicious that they had not seen him that day.Rundles’s father told Oxford Coroner’s Court that his son’s death had come “out of the blue”. The death occurred just a week before the conclusion of the inquest into the death of another LMH student, John Ddungu, who passed away in February 2009.Mr. Rundle explained that he and his son had discussed the suicide of Ddungu, telling the inquest, “[Toby] said that having seen the damage to the other boy’s family, that was the last thing he would ever contemplate.”A post-mortem showed that Rundle had over two-and-a-half times the legal alcohol driving limit in his blood stream and that he had died of asphyxiation. There were no traces of drugs found in his body.Rundle, from Somerset, was in his final year at Oxford, reading English and Classics. He came to national attention in June 2007, when he sold a first edition of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, for £7,200 at an auction. He used the money to pay his university fees.The University counseling service has been offering extra support this year for LMH students.
By MADDY VITALEOcean City has a direct line to Santa Claus … well, a mailbox at least, where kids may write to Saint Nick to tell him what they wish for under the tree.Santa’s Mailbox is at Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue in the downtown and its presence is a tradition that began decades ago by the retail merchants and then was passed onto Santa’s helpers — the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Santa’s Mailbox in Ocean City is for children from all over the region who visit Ocean City during the holiday season,” explained Michele Gillian, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.Old-fashioned decorations and carolers in Victorian-era attire add to the downtown’s nostalgic Christmas atmosphere.Over the years, there have been some interesting requests on the kids’ Christmas wish lists, Gillian noted.“We’ve been told so many funny stories about what children would like,” she said.There are the games and toy requests that are not out of the ordinary. Kids often ask for their favorite Barbie dolls, Legos or games.But then there are these requests: Game nights at home with no fightsSpa days in New York CityTickets to concertsAs Christmas nears, more and more children and their families will be stopping by Santa’s Mailbox to slip in a letter with Christmas wishes — destination North Pole, of course.Across from City Hall, on the sidewalk next to Mark Soifer Park, is the special white mailbox with red and green trim and the words “Santa’s Mailbox” painted on it to hold the letters and children’s lists.Santa’s Mailbox is located at the corner of Ninth Street and Asbury Avenue, across from City Hall.Gillian noted that the old-fashioned letter writing offers nostalgia for some and serves as a reminder that tradition is very important in the family friendly resort.While some of the kids’ requests are humorous, there are others that warm Gillian’s heart, she said.“What is always surprising are the kind words they use with Santa and the promises to always do the best they can,” Gillian said.She then responded to a letter writer’s question: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus in Ocean City!” For even more Christmas fun with Saint Nick, there will be photos with Santa on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Ocean City Music Pier.The cost is $10 per photo. For more information, call 1-800-BEACH-NJ. There is also “Breakfast With Santa” at local restaurants.For more information about Ocean City and the Chamber of Commerce, visit www.oceancityvacation.com. Countdown to Christmas means it is time for children to slip their wish lists into Santa’s Mailbox.