A student who was found dead in a car containing cyanide has been named as Andrew Etches
A student who was found dead in a car containing cyanide has been named as Andrew Etches.
The 23-year-old was discovered on the outskirts of Durham on Tuesday morning. A member of the public discovered Andrew in his blue Vauxhall Corsa on a back road behind the Stonebridge pub, near Neville’s Cross.
Because chemicals were suspected to be involved in his death emergency services were at the scene for a considerable time.
A Durham Police spokesman said: “There are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.”
Andrew was a final year Durham University student from Van Mildert College. He was from the Kimberley area of Nottingham.
A post-mortem will take place next week to determine a cause of death and the coroner is expected to open an inquest in due course.
It is believed Andrew had just finished his final exams.
Hydrogen cyanide was found in the vehicle after experts carried out tests.
A police officer discovered the body, slumped against the steering wheel after a call from a concerned member of the public. When the officer smashed open the window, there was a rush of escaping chemicals and gas from the T-registration vehicle.
The officer required hospital treatment before a major operation was launched involving police, fire crews and a specialist toxic chemical unit.
John Walkden, risk manager with Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We took part in the detection, identification and monitoring of he chemicals at the scene.
“We use advanced monitoring equipment to detect gasses and liquids in the process. Hydrogen cyanide was one of the main gases we found in the vehicle.
“The fire service was there to support the police. We had two appliances and a specialist team at the scene. We wore gas-tight suits and put a safe system in place.”
The immediate area around the scene had to be evacuated and it took several hours to remove the body. It was carried in a sealed casket for fear of contamination of the rescue teams.
Professor Graham Towl, Deputy Warden, Durham University, said: “It is with great sadness that I can confirm the death of one of our students, Andrew Etches. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
“The university’s counselling service is offering its full support to those affected by Andrew’s death.”
Andrew was a student at Van Mildert College and had just achieved a BSc in Computer Science.
Professor David Harper, Principal, Van Mildert College, said: “Andrew was a valued member of our community and we are deeply shocked and saddened by his passing.”