Body of missing Durham student Luke Pearce found in River Wear


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The Independent Online

The body of a student from Durham University has been found in the River Wear a week after he went missing following a night out.

Luke Pearce, 19, disappeared in the early hours of 11 May after drinking with friends and was reported missing that afternoon. He was last seen walking along the river bank away from the city centre.

Following a week of intensive searching, police announced yesterday that the body of a young man had been found in the river by members of the Durham Amateur Rowing Club. The body was later formally identified as that of Mr Pearce.

Mr Pearce, from Hounslow, Surrey, was a first-year engineering student based at St Cuthbert's college.

The search operation over the last week has been a major effort involving air support units, the fire service and mountain rescue teams. It was also helped by students, including Mr Pearce's team mates from the St Cuthbert's rugby club.

A post mortem was carried out yesterday afternoon and police say there are no suspicious circumstances. An inquest into Mr Pearce's death will open in the next few days.

Concerns have only recently been raised about the safety of the riverside area. The body of Sope Peters, a 20-year-old economics student, was found in the river a month ago. At the inquest into Mr Peters' death the coroner called for the area to be made safer, citing low walls and steep steps.

Chief inspector Andy Huddleston of Durham Constabulary said: "Durham is generally a very safe city in which to live, work and study, but it is built on a river. Anyone who is near a stretch of water like the Wear should always be sensible and aware of their own safety."