Calls for better riverside safety as inquest hears death of Sope Peters was accidental

County Durham coroner Andrew Tweddle has called for better riverside safety after an inquest last week heard that the death of Sope Peters was accidental.

Sope

Sope, who studied Economics at Hatfield College, fell into the River Wear shortly after midnight on Tuesday 29th October 2013.

The body of the 20-year-old was discovered five weeks later by emergency services and a post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death to be drowning.

Speaking at the inquest at Crook Civic Centre, Detective Sergeant Stephen Smythe said that Peters was last seen in CCTV footage outside Osborne’s bar and then heading down a set of steep stairs from Elvet Bridge.

DS Smythe said: ’It is almost certain he stumbled down those steps and entered the Wear over the low wall at the bottom of them.

‘I have tried to negotiate those steps and it is difficult even when sober. The lighting is poor and there is no hand rail.’

DS Smythe said that Sope was over the legal driving limit for alcohol but no drugs were found in his system.

Coroner Tweddle said that he would be writing to Durham County Council in a bid to improve the safety of the steps, which he described as ‘difficult and dangerous’.

‘It may be a small comfort to the family knowing that someone is hopefully going to have a look at the situation,’ he said.

Sope’s uncle Lanre Peters said: ‘He was an absolutely fantastic guy with a promising future ahead of him, which has just been tragically cut short.’

Dr Anthony Bash, Acting Principal at Hatfield, said ‘Members of Hatfield College were deeply saddened by the death of Sope Peters. He was a popular student who is greatly missed.

‘We marked Sope’s passing with a memorial event to celebrate his life.

‘In order to recognise the hard work of the Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team that helped the Police to search for Sope, the students at Hatfield College have raised about £1,000 for the charity.’

Photograph: Sope Peters

Published in Palatinate Online, Durham’s Official Student Newspaper – http://www.palatinate.org.uk/?p=47286 – 14th April 2014

Durham MCC cricketer stars in World Cricket League triumph

Durham MCC all-rounder Ben Stevens won the Player of the Tournament award and inspired Jersey to victory in World Cricket League Division 5 in Malaysia this week.

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Stevens, who studies Spanish at St. Aidan’s College and is currently on a year-abroad in Argentina, was the top-run scorer in the tournament, making 403 runs at an average of 67.17.

His highest score of 84 came in the final against Malaysia, where he shared in a match-winning 152-run stand with ex-Durham MCC cricketer Nathaniel Watkins (116), leading Jersey to a 71-run win.

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The left-arm spinner also picked up 13 wickets in Kuala Lumpur at an average of 15.08.

Stevens’ performances across the week helped Jersey to win all of their games, seeing off hosts Malaysia, Tanzania, the Cayman Islands, Nigeria and local rivals Guernsey to secure promotion to Division 4.

Jersey, who’s squad also includes Durham graduate Ed Farley, now travel to Singapore for World Cricket League Division 4 in June.

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Speaking after the final, Stevens said, ‘It’s been an unbelievable ride and it feels incredible now to know that our hard work has given us a trip to Singapore.

‘We knew we had it in us to win the tournament so we’re happy we’ve been able to do that.’

Reflecting on the best moments of the week, Stevens said, ‘From a cricketing perspective, Nat’s century to win against the home favourites in the final was pretty special. There was also the win against the Cayman Islands that secured our promotion.

‘Personally, I’m obviously very happy to have got runs and wickets in the tournament, and it’s nice to know you’ve done your bit for promotion. Conversely, it’s not so nice to know I’m completely incapable of scoring a century.’

Stevens also won the Player of the Tournament award when Jersey were promoted from World Cricket League Division 6 last summer, making it two in two for the Durham all-rounder.

Photographs: CricketEurope, ICC