A FORMER Bournemouth head girl has died in an apparent crushing incident outside a Durham nightclub.

Witnesses described the scene of panic when 20-year-old Olivia Burt became trapped after a barrier toppled as students queued to get into Missoula in the city’s Walkergate shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

Desperate attempts were made by doormen to resuscitate her, but she died.

Miss Burt, from Milford-on-Sea, had only joined Durham University in October and was studying natural sciences.

She was a former head girl at Bournemouth School for Girls.

One account from Wednesday's tragic incident detailed how overcrowding outside the club led to the queue pushing forward, causing a barrier to collapse and people in line falling on top.

A witness, who did not wish to be named, told The Northern Echo people were "barging" in the queue when the tragedy happened.

He said: "The queue pushed the barrier, causing it to fall. The girl was trapped and crushed. There was a fair bit of panic.

“One of the security men at the nightclub ran toward her and took his shirt off to stem the bleeding from her head.

“She had lost consciousness and he started to give CPR and was helped by other doormen until the ambulance arrived. She sadly died."

Another witness, named only as Rosie, said her jumper was used as a cushion for Miss Burt's head.

She said: "The barrier toppled over along with all the people and I along with others got pushed over.

"I look round and there's this girl on the floor, I run over to try and help other people look after her and there is blood literally everywhere, I got them to cushion her head with my jumper."

Durham Constabulary has launched an investigation to establish the circumstances surrounding Miss Burt's death.

A spokesperson said she was being resuscitated by door staff before the ambulance service continued attempts to revive her when police officers arrived, but was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Weir, from Durham Constabulary, said: “This was a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Olivia during this incredibly sad time.

“A joint investigation is ongoing between ourselves and Durham County Council to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.”

A post mortem examination carried out this afternoon confirmed that Miss Burt died as a result of head injuries.

A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service said: “We received a report of an incident in which someone had received a serious head injuries outside Missoula in Durham at 11.50pm.

“We sent three resources to the scene. The first arrival on scene was at 11.58pm. Then another a minute later and a third at 12.10am.

“CPR was in progress when the call in. When we got there the crews would have taken over. Sadly the patient died at the scene.”

Alistair Brien, Headteacher at Bournemouth School for Girls, said: "The BSG community is both shocked and saddened to  learn of  this tragic news.  

"Olivia was a model student in every way.  

"As  well as excelling academically,  she made an immense  contribution to  the  wider life of our school.  

"In particular she  carried  out her role  of  Head  Girl with  distinction and  was also a talented sailor.  We will all remember her with enormous pride and affection.

"Our thoughts and prayers  are   with  her family  and  friends at  this very  difficult  time."

Owen Adams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience), Durham University, said: “The death of one of our students in Durham City on Wednesday night has shocked and saddened the whole Durham University community.

“We are deeply thankful to members of the ambulance service and police officers for the professional and compassionate manner in which they have gone about their work, both at the time and following the incident.

“Our thoughts remain with the student’s family and friends at this very difficult time. We have been in touch with the student’s family, and we are continuing to offer support to students and staff who may have been affected by this incident.

“We are providing full support to the police as they carry out their investigation.”

Phoenix Security which provides security for the venue declined to comment on the incident.

A spokesman for Missoula said: "A full investigation has been launched, working with the police and the company who provide our door staff, to fully understand what led to this terrible accident. Until that is concluded we are unable to comment further. Our thoughts are with the young lady’s family and friends.”