Tributes after man found dead in car

Tributes have been paid to a student, originally from Kimberley, who was tragically found dead just days before graduating from a top university.

Andrew Etches, 23, was discovered in his blue Vauxhall Corsa car.

The vehicle was on a back road behind a pub near Neville’s Cross in Durham City, County Durham, in the North -East, on Tuesday June 25.

Although not being treated as suspicious, it has been reported by a national newspaper that the poison cyanide might have been involved in the death. This has not been confirmed by police.

The man who found Mr Etches is understood to have been a special constable. He smashed open the window of the vehicle.

The immediate area around the scene had to be evacuated and it took several hours to remove the body amid fears a ‘chemical may have been involved’. It was carried in a sealed casket to University Hospital, North Durham.

Mr Etches was described as a valued member of his college community, which is still reeling from his death.

Durham Police have reiterated that there are no suspicious circumstances.

A student at Durham University’s Van Mildert College, Mr Etches had just achieved a BSc in computer science and was due to graduate at Durham Cathedral.

In a tribute, Professor David Harper, principal of Van Mildert College, said: “Andrew was a valued member of our community and we are deeply shocked and saddened by his passing.”

Professor Graham Towl, the university’s deputy warden, said: “It is with great sadness that I can confirm the death of one of our students, Andrew Etches.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

“The university’s counselling service is offering its full support to those affected by Andrew’s death.”

Mr Etches’ family have been informed of his death and have visited the North-East.

A Durham Police spokesman said that because chemicals were suspected to be involved in his death, the emergency services were at the scene for a considerable time.

A post-mortem examination has taken place this week to determine a formal cause of death and the Durham Coroner is expected to open an inquest in due course.