Manawatu students returning to campus after the weekend break were devastated to hear the tragic news of the untimely death of fellow student, Virginia Ford.
Miss Ford, a 20-year-old second-year, studying towards a Bachelor of Science, died as a result of an incident on the previous Friday evening. She was from Dunedin.
Police were reportedly called after an argument involving Miss Ford and a 21-year-old man she lived with. Emergency services arrived but were unable to revive her, and she died at the scene. Witnesses reported seeing a man at the scene in a state of distress.
The man, another Massey student, has appeared in court and has been charged with murder. He currently has name suppression.
The incident occurred at the privately owned Mews Apartment Complex, just off campus. On the Monday, three rooms of the Eldon House section of the complex were still sealed off by police. Police would not release any further information.
Massey Communications Director James Gardiner said the university was offering support to students following the tragic events. “Massey University’s thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim and also with those of the accused”.
University staff had visited the accommodation block to offer support to students living there. Mews Apartment Complex is predominately populated by foreign students.
Massey University Students’ Association president Linsey Higgins echoed the thoughts of many students in expressing her “deepest condolences to all those affected”. She went on to “encourage anyone who needs help at this time to seek help”. The incident was “not indicative of students on this campus”, she said.
MUSA has posted links on their Facebook for students needing assistance. Those needing counselling should seek assistance from the team of counsellors available on campus.
Those who needed spiritual help or just a chat have been advised to get in touch with the chaplaincy on campus. Links to these services are listed below.
Student advocate on campus, Kerry Howe, has advised anyone suffering from domestic violence to contact the crisis line of Women’s Refuge. The Palmerston North number is open 24 hours and can be reached on (06) 356 5585.
Kerry is also a former safe-house manager for Women’s Refuge and can help any student who needs assistance or advice. Her office is 2.24 and is located in the MUSA building.
A memorial service for Virginia Ford will be guided by the wishes of Miss Ford’s family and friends.