THE parents of a former Bournemouth head girl who died in a 'crushing' incident outside a nightclub in Durham last week say they are “totally devastated and heartbroken” by the loss of their “beautiful daughter”.

Olivia Burt, from Milford-on-Sea, suffered fatal head injuries when she became trapped after a barrier toppled as students queued to get into the Missoula bar in the city centre on Wednesday night.

Despite the best efforts of door staff, the ambulance service and police to revive her, the 20-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

Miss Burt's parents have released a statement paying tribute to their daughter, who was in her first year at Durham University, where she was studying natural sciences.

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."

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.

Over the last few days, police have spoken to a large number of people who were in the area the night of Miss Burt's death. They are now appealing for those who were nearest to her 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."

Any witnesses who were close to the incident at the time are asked to ring Durham Police on 101.