Durham University student who died outside nightclub was 'exceptional' sailor

A 20-year-old student who died in an incident involving a barrier outside a busy city centre nightclub was "an exceptional sports woman" who had sailed for Britain, Durham University has said.

Olivia Burt, in her first year at Durham University, suffered a serious head injury near the entrance to Missoula just before midnight on Wednesday as people queued to get in the popular venue.

First-aiders tried to save her life and attempted CPR, but she died at the scene.

A post-mortem examination carried out on Thursday afternoon confirmed Miss Burt died as a result of head injuries.

Professor David Held, Master of University College, Durham, said: "The staff and students of University College, Durham acutely feel the loss of Olivia Burt.

"Olivia arrived in Durham last autumn to begin reading natural sciences. She came to Durham with glowing references from her school where she was regarded in the highest possible terms.

"She had an outstanding academic record and was an exceptional sports woman.

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"She was part of the British Sailing team in the European Championships. Olivia sailed for more than a decade, quickly finding her place in the University team.

"She became very active both in college life and the wider university.

"Those students close to her have lost a wonderful friend, whom in their shock they grieve for, alongside her family and friends.

"The College has lost a bright and outstandingly able student. It is hard to come to terms with her loss, and we will miss her greatly."

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According to The Tab student newspaper, the bar was packed and there was a long queue waiting to get in.

Revellers who saw the horrific scene were in tears as helpers and then the emergency services tried to revive her.

In a statement, Missoula said it was "a terrible accident" and that they were working with the police and security company which provides door staff.

A spokeswoman added: "Our thoughts are with the young lady's family and friends."

Detective Superintendent Kevin Weir, from Durham Constabulary, said: "This was a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Olivia during this incredibly sad time.

"A joint investigation is ongoing between ourselves and Durham County Council to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident."

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Missoula's Wednesday-evening event, Game Over, describes itself as Durham's biggest student night and it is in the popular Walkergate area of bars and restaurants.

Students said the venue is often busy and uses barriers when queues of people are waiting to get in.

Forensic experts were working at the scene and covered the spot where she was injured with a large blue tent.