Olivia Burt death: Tributes paid to tragic Durham University student who died in Missoula nightclub tragedy

Martin Coulter
Ms Burt was a successful sailing competitor: BST

Tributes have been paid to a popular student who was reportedly crushed to death under a metal barrier outside a busy bar in Durham.

Olivia Burt, a 20-year-old student at Durham University, is said to have died when the barrier was pushed over as a crowd attempted to get inside the popular Missoula nightclub.

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

A talented sailor who had competed for Britain in the European Championships, a spokesman for the Royal Yachting Association called her "a likeable and fair competitor".

Witnesses told how the student was pinned under a barrier outside Missoula nightclub (PA)

"The RYA is deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident.

"As a popular and committed Junior Optimist squad sailor, Olivia Burt exhibited all the drive, determination and good sportsmanship required to progress as a successful Laser competitor.

"Olivia's passion for sailing always shone through and all those who knew her in the sailing community will miss her tremendously; she was both a likeable and fair competitor.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Olivia at this sad time."

Ms Burt died outside the Missoula nightclub

Fellow former pupil at Bournemouth School for Girls Alice Winney wrote online: "RIP Olivia Burt. Ex BSG girl and all round lovely soul. Sad day for the BSG family."

Another, Latifah, wrote: "My thoughts are with Olivia Burt's family and friends...Such a tragic thing to have happened to someone with so much potential..."

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.

"She was part of the British Sailing team in the European Championships.

"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."

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.”

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.”