The former headteacher of Hounslow teenager Luke Pearce, whose body was found yesterday , has described him as 'one of the most polite and courteous students I have ever met'.
A body found in the River Wear, in Durham, yesterday morning, was today formally identified as that of the 19-year-old Durham University student, who had been missing since last weekend.
Harinder Pattar, headteacher of The Heathland School, in Hounslow, which Mr Pearce used to attend, today paid tribute to his former pupil.
"Luke was one of the most polite and courteous students I have met in all my years at Heathland, and we are all devastated by this tragedy," he said.
"He was a wonderful person and an incredible all-round student, who excelled both academically and on the sports field. He had a passion for rugby and played for Wasps Academy as a back row forward.
"Everyone liked and respected him and he was always prepared to help both staff and his peers.
"He had two older sisters who had gone through the school and a younger sibling who is still in our sixth form, and our hearts go out to all his family."
A spokesman for Durham Police today said the body had been formally identified as that of Mr Pearce and the results of a post-mortem conducted yesterday would now be forwarded to the coroner, for an inquest to be opened. He added that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
Mr Pearce had last been seen walking along the river bank in the early hours of last Sunday, May 11, after a night out. His disappearance sparked a huge search, involving students from Durham University.
Sara Uddin, who went to sixth form with Mr Pearce , said: "Luke had a heart of gold and such a bright future ahead of him.
"We worked together in the summer holidays marking the papers of younger students at our old school and he refused to take a break, because that's the kind of person he was."