Inquest into the death of Durham University student Sope Peters opened

The body of 20-year-old Sope Peters was found in the River Wear in Durham City after a six-week search

Sope Peters
Sope Peters
 

An inquest into the death of Durham University student Sope Peters was opened yesterday.

The body of the 20-year-old was found in the River Wear, between Prebends and Framwellgate Bridge, in Durham City on Sunday December 8.

Nigeria-born Sope, whose full name is Sopefoluwa, was a talented student who had reached the second year of an economics degree.

He had been missing since a night out in the city with friends on Tuesday, October 29.

The inquest at Crook Civic Centre in County Durham heard yesterday a post mortem examination has taken place but pathologists have not yet determined a cause of death.

Sope’s mother Tolu was in the North East with other family as the search stretched over six weeks with firefighters and mountain rescue volunteers called in to help.

County Durham and Darlington coroner Andrew Tweddle said Sope was identified by his DNA after a passerby saw his body floating in the Wear and alerted emergency services.

An investigation by Durham Police into how Sope died continues and Mr Tweddle has scheduled a review of the proceedings on February 21.

He said: “An investigation has commenced into this matter a few days ago and at that time I was able to release the body for the purposes of a funeral to the family.

“I have decided it is appropriate for an inquest to be opened.”

Coroner’s officer Helen McLean gave evidence at the short hearing, confirming that samples have been taken for histology and toxicology tests.

Mr Tweddle said Sope’s family, who live in Virginia in the USA, had been made aware of the brief hearing but chose not to attend.

Tolu had told of how Sope had planned to travel during the summer and was an optimistic and compassionate young man.

Dr Anthony Bash, a senior tutor at Hatfield College at Durham University, has previously said there is a sense of loss at the university, where Sope was described as well-liked and popular.

He said: “He was an energetic, lively and well liked student. He was very popular and had plenty of friends.

“He was a guy with style. He had an energy about him, he was very creative.

“The students have been fantastic, printing leaflets and posters and distributing them throughout Durham.

“The students are very shocked and saddened.”

Mr Tweddle adjourned the inquest.

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