Sope Peters’ death confirmed as accidental

Durham student’s accidental death prompts calls for better riverside safety at inquest last week

The death of Durham student Sope Peters was accidental, an inquest has heard. The body of the 20 year old was found five weeks after he went missing in late October last year.

Peters, an economics student from Hatfield College was last seen was last seen on CCTV walking down from Elvet Bridge on Tuesday 29th of October 2013 – it is believed he fell into the River Wear shortly after midnight.

DS Stephen Smythe said that Peters was likely to have stumbled into the water as the steps, even sober, are difficult to walk up.

Speaking at the inquest Smythe said ‘I tried to negotiate those steps and it is difficult even when sober…the lighting is poor and there is no handrail.’

Post mortem examination revealed Peters to be over the legal driving limit for alcohol and the official cause of death to be drowning. No drugs were found in his system.

After the verdict of the accidental death County Durham Coroner Andrew Tweddle said he would try and convince Durham County Council to improve the safety of the steps, adding that ‘It may be a small comfort to the family knowing that someone is hopefully going to have a look at the situation,’

Sope’s uncle, Lanre Peters, commented that ‘it’s tragic. He had so much to live for,’ describing his nephew as ‘an absolutely fantastic guy with a promising future ahead of him, which has just been tragically cut short.’

Students at Hatfield college have raised over £1,000 pounds for Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue team, with acting Principle Dr Anthony Bash commenting “Members of Hatfield College were deeply saddened by the death of Sope Peters.”

“He was a popular student who is greatly missed.”

“Greatly Missed”