‘Devastated, shocked and very saddened’: University speaks out about Luke’s tragic death

Professor Elizabeth Archibald, Principal of St. Cuth’s, and Professor Towl, Pro-VC and Deputy Warden, spoke to The Tab this afternoon regarding the discovery of missing student Luke Pearce’s body.


The Tab interviewed the Principal of St. Cuth’s and the Pro-VC today to hear their statement about Luke Pearce’s tragic death.

Professor Towl earlier today.

Professor Towl said ‘we very much regret what has happened’ and that student safety is ‘paramount’ in Durham.

Radio stations interviewing Professor Elizabeth Archibald, Principal of St. Cuth’s.

Professor Archibald said that she was ‘shocked’ and ‘very saddened’ to hear the news. Luke was a ‘very popular young man’ with ‘many, many friends’. He was ‘very well liked’ and ‘passionate about sport.’

She continued to say that St Cuth’s will be holding a memorial for Luke but will give opportunity to students, his friends and the rugby club, to decide how they would like to commemorate him. One suggestion was to organise a ‘charity match’ to reflect Luke’s passion for the sport and his popularity within the team.

Tyne-Tees News interviews Professor Archibald.

Police have had daily contact with Luke’s family and Professor Archibald stressed that St Cuth’s has every sympathy with them. She said that the university takes a lot of trouble at the start of the year talking about safety but ‘will be talking about what more we can do in the light of this.’

BBC News and Professor Towl outside Bill Bryson this afternoon.

The Tab interviews Professor Towl:

People have been commenting on the police’s Facebook statement about students drinking too much. Do you think that’s the case?

I think nationally we have a large cohort of young adults in Durham City, that’s the case at every university in the country and inevitably recreational drinking…will be reflected at Durham.

Do you think students should be taking a more personal response towards drinking or do you think it is the university’s job to ensure that people are safe?

I think that as adults we all have a personal responsibility for ourselves. On the other hand we take our responsibilities very seriously as a university and we will certainly be looking to learn lessons from this tragic occurrence.

Do you think the council should erect better safety by the river?

I think ultimately that is a matter for the council to look at but it is one we would be happy to work with them on, but I don’t think there is one solution to this I think it is a whole range of integrated responses that are needed from our health partners, council partners, a whole range of partners and indeed of course our student body.

The University’s official statement.

Our thoughts are with Luke’s family and friends at this tragic time. The Tab will keep readers updated regarding the memorial service.