STUDENTS have gathered at Durham Castle this evening for a candlelit vigil in memory of a student who died when she was crushed beneath a barrier at a North-East nightspot.

The event in the courtyard was held to honour Olivia Burt who suffered fatal head injuries outside Missoula in Durham City, just before midnight on Wednesday night.

The 20-year-old was in the first year of a degree in natural sciences at Durham University.

Miss Burt, a former head girl at Bournemouth School for Girls, was an only child from Milford-on-Sea, in Hampshire.

Her heartbroken parents have told of their grief.

In a statement, they said: “We are totally devastated and heartbroken by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Olivia.

“She was a wonderful young woman and our words cannot truly express how much we miss her.

“We request that we be allowed to grieve in private and will not be releasing any further statements.”

A joint investigation into the circumstances surrounding Miss Burt’s death has been launched by Durham Constabulary and Durham County Council.

The incident happened during a popular student night at the Walkergate venue and several hundred people are thought to have been queuing outside the premises at the time.

Miss Burt, who was part of the British Sailing team in the European Championships, was with friends from the university sailing team when the tragedy happened.

Witnesses described scenes of panic when a glass and metal barrier toppled on top of her as crowds of people tried to get into the club.

Despite the best efforts of door staff, the ambulance service and police to revive her, Miss Burt was pronounced dead at the scene.

Over the last few days, police have spoken to a large number of people who were in the area on Wednesday night, but are now appealing for those who were nearest to Miss Burt at the time of the tragedy to come forward.

Detective Inspector Andy Smith, of Durham Constabulary’s Major Crime Team, said: “This was a tragic incident and the whole focus of our investigation at this time is to find out exactly what happened to Olivia.

“We have now spoken to a large number of people who were there on the night, both those working in the area and those who were queueing to get into the nightclub.

“Officers have also examined CCTV footage from the scene, showing the moments leading up to the incident.

“We appreciate there were potentially several hundred people outside the premises, but we are appealing for witnesses to come forward from among those who were closest to Olivia at the time of the incident and saw what took place.”

Witnesses are asked to ring Durham Police on 101.