Parents reject 'suicide pact' claim over deaths

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The Independent Online

The parents of a student who died in a suspected suicide pact have insisted it was a "tragic accident".

Robert Miller, 20, from Finstown, and Jim Robertson, 19, from Stromness, Orkney, were found dead in a hotel in Ayr on Wednesday.

Strathclyde Police said they were not treating the deaths of the Edinburgh University students as suspicious.

James and Christine Miller said they were initially told by police that the students had "probably taken their own lives", but said the idea was "completely unbelievable".

Mr and Mrs Miller are believed to be directors of the Orkney Media Group, which owns the Orcadian newspaper.

A statement in the paper from the couple said: "We are devastated at the news of Robert and Jim's deaths and are trying to come to terms with the loss of two wonderful lads of immense charm and ability.

"We were initially told they had probably taken their own lives and we found this totally unbelievable.

"They had everything to live for, they were happy and had made plans for the future.

"Robert had just secured a summer placement with Citibank in London and had arranged accommodation. He could not wait to get down there later this month."

The statement continued: "The police have been excellent and their investigation is ongoing, but there are a number of indications that this was a tragic accident and not a 'suicide pact', as reported in some national newspapers.

"The police have told us that they have found no evidence of the boys broadcasting their deaths on the internet."

Edinburgh University was directing calls about the incident to Strathclyde Police.

A police spokesman said: "On June 9 at around 12.40pm the bodies of two men were found in a hotel in Ayr. At this time inquiries are continuing.

"However it does not appear to be suspicious. A full report will be sent to the procurator fiscal."

The students' bodies were found in the Ramada Jarvis hotel in the seaside town of Ayr.

A company spokesman said today that they were "shocked and saddened" by the deaths.

"We would like to take this opportunity to offer our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to both families at this sad time," a statement said.

Police denied that the two deaths had been filmed and broadcast on the internet.

A spokesman said: "There is nothing to suggest that at this time.

"We will not be releasing any more details due to the nature of the investigation. As long as it looks like suicide we will not be commenting further."