POLICE are trying to piece together the final three hours in the life of a student who died miles away from his home.

Nearly three months after the death of Newcastle University chemistry student Richard Hyde, mystery still surrounds his final hours.

Richard, 21, was hit by a single-deck bus as he tried to cross the A693 road in New Kyo, near Stanley, at 6.45am on Monday, March 21.

Police have been unable to determine what the student, who was from Sheerness in Kent and stayed at a student house in Jesmond, near Newcastle, during term time, was doing in the town.

His silver Vauxhall Astra was found parked a mile away from the location of the accident in West View Gardens, Stanley.

It was parked in an allocated bay, had petrol in the tank, had not broken down and none of his possessions, including computer and text books, appear to have been tampered with.

The student is thought to have left the home he shared with his girlfriend and other students at 10pm.

Accident investigators have now determined that Mr Hyde used a cashpoint machine several miles away in Birtley at 2.15am.

They also believe he parked his car in West View Gardens about 45 minutes later, but have been unable to shed any light on his movements after that time.

Sgt John Blackbourn said: "What we have not been able to do is account for Richard's movements after 3am, although it is possible he stayed in his car before walking to the scene of the accident.

"Since his shoes and clothes were dry, our assumption is he made his way down Front Street in the town centre, rejoined the A693 at Louisa Terrace and continued to walk west until he reached the point where he was fatally injured."

Sgt Blackbourn added: "What remains a mystery to us is why this young man was in Stanley at all and why he was walking along that road.

"The fact he had no known connection with the area adds to the puzzle.

"We would like to speak to anyone who might have seen him in the time leading up to the collision or who witnessed the accident."