Barrier death Durham University student Olivia Burt sailed for Britain

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image captionOlivia Burt had been head girl at her school before starting university

A student who died when she was crushed beneath a barrier outside a nightclub was "an exceptional sportswoman" who had sailed for Britain.

Olivia Burt suffered head injuries outside Missoula in Durham just before midnight on Wednesday.

First-aiders tried to save her life but the 20-year-old, from Hampshire, died at the scene.

Professor David Held of Durham University said Miss Burt was "bright and outstandingly able".

'Wonderful friend'

Prof Held, Master of University College, said: "The staff and students acutely feel the loss of Olivia Burt.

"She arrived last autumn to begin reading natural science with glowing references from her school where she was regarded in the highest possible terms.

"She had an outstanding academic record and was an exceptional sportswoman.

"Those students close to her have lost a wonderful friend, whom in their shock they grieve for, alongside her family and friends.

"The college has lost a bright and outstandingly able student. It is hard to come to terms with her loss, and we will miss her greatly."

Miss Burt, a former head girl at Bournemouth School for Girls, had been in the European Championships with the British Sailing Team and had recently joined the university's team.

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image captionForensic investigators have been at the scene

According to The Tab student newspaper, the bar was packed and there was a long queue waiting to get in.

In a statement, Missoula said it was "a terrible accident" and said staff were working with the police and security company that provides door staff.

Det Supt Kevin Weir, of Durham Police, said the force and Durham County Council were investigating the death.

Missoula's Wednesday-evening event, Game Over, is described by the club as Durham's biggest student night.

Students said the venue in Walkergate is often busy and uses barriers when queues of people are waiting to get in.

Chris Atherton, a spokesman for The Royal Yachting Association, of which Miss Burt was also a member, said: "Olivia's passion for sailing always shone through and all those who knew her in the sailing community will miss her tremendously; she was both a likeable and fair competitor."

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