5 Nov 2019

Coroner unable to say when Canterbury student died

4:57 pm on 5 November 2019

A coroner has outlined the final movements and details around student Mason Pendrous' death.

Mason Pendrous

Mason Pendrous Photo: Supplied to RNZ by family

The 19-year-old University of Canterbury commerce student's body was found in Sonoda hall of residence on 23 September.

A Christchurch District Court heard today that Mr Pendrous died some time between 26 August and 10 September.

Until the post-mortem is complete, the cause of death was yet to be established.

Coroner Sue Johnson said the young man was on the cusp of adulthood and that "his death is a tragedy that must not be forgotten".

After six weeks of gathering evidence, police gave evidence in court about the last time Mr Pendrous was seen and heard from.

Constable Robert Stokes said the young man's body went unnoticed for two to four weeks.

He said there was "no evidence that he died anywhere else other than his room 209" at the first-year student hostel.

The police also found his cellphone had been disconnected from 12 June due to overdue payments. The last text message sent from his phone was to his stepfather Anthony Holland.

Mr Stokes said two weeks prior to Mr Pendrous' death, his internet usage became signficantly higher.

Police said the last person to make contact with Mr Pendrous was a high school friend based in Wellington. The pair communicated and played a computer war-game together on 24 August.

Ms Johnson said Mr Pendrous was "very well loved by his now grieving family".

"The deceased can easily disappear from the picture" when many questions about why they died still remained, she said. She vowed to keep him visible and urged others to do the same.

Mr Pendrous' family were unable to attend the court hearing but were informed of the outcome by their lawyer following the court hearing.

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