Mother's 'bittersweet moment' as award set up in her memory of student daughter

A mother has described a “bittersweet moment” as an award is set up in memory of her student daughter who took her own life at university following a campaign of abuse by her boyfriend.

Emily Drouet, died by suicide aged 18 after being abused by her boyfriend at university in Aberdeen.  PIC: SWNS/Drouet family.
Emily Drouet, died by suicide aged 18 after being abused by her boyfriend at university in Aberdeen. PIC: SWNS/Drouet family.

Law student Emily Drouet, 18, died at her halls of residence at Aberdeen University in March 2016.

After her parents launched an own investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death, Angus Milligan, her boyfriend from Edinburgh, admitted in court to choking and slapping her and acting in an abusive and threatening manner.

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The Emily Drouet award has now been set up by the university and her parents to recognise someone who has gone out of their way to support a friend or fellow students in the university community.

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Her mother, Fiona Drouet, of Glasgow, spoke out about the award and said her daughter’s legacy would be one of kindness.

She said: “Although nothing can bring Emily back or change what happened, we are delighted that Emily’s legacy will be one of kindness. It is a bittersweet moment for us but Emily radiated kindness and compassion and she would be so honoured to be remembered in this way.

“There are quite rightly many awards for academic achievement, but we felt Emily’s award should reflect her core values and Emily was kindness personified. She would never stand back if someone was in need of help. We are hoping that the award process will be uplifting as we learn how students have made a difference in their communities - we are sure Emily will be as proud as we are.

"The one gift we all possess is the ability to be kind and we may never know how big a difference that can make in someone else’s life – kindness is free, we only run out of it if we choose to.”

Nick Edwards, Head of Student Support at the University, said it had been an “honour” to work with Mrs Drouet and her husband, Germain, in setting up the award in their daughter’s name.

He said: “We wanted to do something to honour Emily that would also encapsulate her kind and loving nature and we hope that the Emily Drouet award will do just that. Emily was a very compassionate, kind and caring young woman and it is these qualities that we are celebrating in the Emily Drouet Award."

Milligan was later convicted of assault and threatening behaviour, and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work. He was expelled from Aberdeen University but, according to reports, has now taken up a place at Oxford Brookes.

The University will also introduce a paid student research project, giving an undergraduate student the opportunity to complete a summer research placement focussing on gender-based violence and student related suicide.

An annual paid student-internship with the student support team will also be created with a key focus the development of new services .

Mr Edwards added: “We are also keen that we are continually exploring how the University can best support the health and wellbeing of our students.”

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