Body found in search for student lost in big freeze

A BODY found in Newcastle is that of a young North Yorkshire student who went missing in freezing conditions during a night out with friends, police said today.

Duncan Gibbon, 21, a student at Edinburgh University, was in Newcastle for a birthday party with old friends from Stokesley School on Saturday when he became separated from them.

His parents in Swainby, near Northallerton, Simon and Kate, were told yesterday afternoon that a body fitting his description had been found on an embankment near the High Level Bridge, close to Newcastle's popular Quayside area.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "It can now be confirmed the body discovered in the area of Newcastle Quayside yesterday afternoon (Weds Dec 22) is that of Duncan Gibbon, 21, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, who was reported missing after a night out with friends on Saturday December 18.

"A post-mortem examination will take place to establish a cause of death. The media and public are thanked for their assistance throughout the search for Mr Gibbon."

The discovery came as winter relaxed its grip a little, easing the misery and chaos felt across the county.

Following days of cancellations, the log-jam at Heathrow Airport began to move slowly as Colin Matthews, chief executive of airport operators BAA, announced he would forego his annual bonus in recognition of the dissatisfaction of customers and politicians. He earned 940,000 last year but his office would not say, yesterday, how much of that was a bonus.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, said that the Spanish-owned BAA firm had "very serious lessons" to learn as passengers were warned not to expect an immediate return to normality. All airports are advising customers to check with airlines to see if their flights are operating.

In Oxford, the bodies of a woman and her dog were found in the River Cherwell. Police believed the woman to be 74-year-old Ann Powles, who went missing on Monday.

In a visit to the Highways Agency's national traffic control centre, near Birmingham, Prime Minister David Cameron said he shared "people's frustrations" at the disruption to UK transport caused by the arctic conditions but said it had be viewed in the context that Britain had seen temperatures at 19C below zero and up to five inches of snow in an hour.

"There are some weather events it is very difficult to plan for," he said, adding the Government had taken steps to help, including extending delivery drivers' permitted hours and easing night flight restrictions at Heathrow.

Some sunshine and slightly higher temperatures are forecast for the next three days – although there could well be snow showers on Christmas Day.