Parents pay tribute to ‘wonderful’ daughter who died outside nightclub

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The parents of a university student who died in an incident involving a barrier outside a nightclub have said they are “totally devastated and heartbroken” by her death.

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

She had only joined Durham University in October and was studying natural sciences.

The 20-year-old, from Hampshire, was a former head girl at Bournemouth School for Girls (BSG) and was an accomplished sailor, having been part of the British Sailing team in the European Championships.

Her parents said in a statement released through Durham Police: “We are totally devastated and heartbroken by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Olivia.

“She was a wonderful young woman and our words cannot truly express how much we miss her.

“We request that we be allowed to grieve in private and will not be releasing any further statements.”

Police at the scene outside the Missoula nightclub
Police at the scene outside the Missoula nightclub (Owen Humphreys/PA)

A police spokesman said that “several hundred people” were believed to have been queuing outside the Walkergate venue at the time of the incident.

Detective Inspector Andy Smith said: “This was a tragic incident and the whole focus of our investigation at this time is to find out exactly what happened to Olivia.

“We have now spoken to a large number of people who were there on the night, both those working in the area and those who were queuing to get into the nightclub.

“Officers have also examined CCTV footage from the scene, showing the moments leading up to the incident.

“We appreciate there were potentially several hundred people outside the premises, but we are appealing for witnesses to come forward from among those who were closest to Olivia at the time of the incident and saw what took place.”

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

Missoula’s Wednesday-evening event, Game Over, describes itself as Durham’s biggest student night.

Students said the venue was often busy and used barriers when queues of people were waiting to get in.

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