Durham University law student Euan Coulthard, from Bottesford, accidentally drowned in the River Wear after a night out with friends, a coroner ruled yesterday.
The 19-year-old has been out in Durham with friends on January 13 and was last seen at 11.50pm after leaving a nightclub. CCTV footage showed him walking down steps from Framwellgate Bridge towards the river at 12.03am on January 14.
Coroner Andrew Tweddle said at yesterday’s inquest: “There is only one conclusion I can given, that Euan’s death was an accident - he didn’t intend to die.
“I was relieved to hear that the police say it was not suspicious or anything to suggest third party involvement.
“Where he went into the river and what he might have been doing immediately before he went into the river we will never know.”
After the inquest the Coulthard family released a statement which said: “Academically gifted, talented and hard-working, he was the first in his family to go to university. The world is now a much poorer place without this fine young man, our beautiful son Euan.
“We would like to thank again all those who helped in the search for Euan: the police, Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, the local community and Euan’s fellow students, as well as the diver who found Euan.”
Euan was a student at the King’s School in Grantham from 2006 to 2013.
Following his death, headmaster Frank Hedley said: “Euan was an exceptional student who contributed richly to school life. He had a passion for academic study; was a voracious reader and had ‘top notch’ organisational skills. He picked up concepts very quickly and had a superb work ethic. Not surprisingly, intellectual curiosity combined with a superb attitude to learning resulted in A*/A grades at both GCSE and A-level. The school was delighted when Euan gained his place to study Law at Durham University.”