Journal opinion: A night out cannot end like this

The Journal's opinion column for Saturday, January 24, in which we analyse what must be done in the wake of the Durham river tragedies

This is, of course, a terrible time for the family of Durham student Euan Coulthard.

Euan, 19, went missing 10 days ago after a night out in Durham. A body, believed to be his, was pulled from the River Wear yesterday.

In the past 14 months two other students, Sope Peters and Luke Pearce, have died in the Wear after nights out in Durham.

Verdicts of accidental death were recorded in both cases.

In the desperate days since Euan’s disappearance there have been calls for safety measures by the river to be increased. It is right to have that discussion. If more lighting, better CCTV coverage and more effective barriers save a life in future then some good will have come out of these terrible tragedies.

But when Supt Andy Huddleston says the issue is “broader than simply putting barriers at the riverside” he is, of course, correct.

A big night out on the town is part and parcel of the student experience. It usually involves drink, maybe too much drink.

The inquests into the deaths of Sope and Luke were told that both had been drinking on the nights they disappeared. Euan also went missing after a night out.

Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland are all fantastic places for students and we would want them to get the best out of those cities.

But nights out cannot go on ending like this. They just cannot.

In Durham there will be a discusssion about what can be done to stop this happening again. Supt Huddleston has made it clear these discussions must include bar and club owners and the students themselves.

This is not a case of pointing fingers. Three families are going through agony. There must not be any more.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer