Melrose student's dad believes son might have been robbed before crash
The father of the 20-year-old Borders student who died last week following a collision with a car in Shropshire says he believes his son might have been attacked shortly before he was run over.
Cameron Crawford, of the Pavilion Estate near Melrose, was finally able to see his son George on Monday in Shrewsbury, but he is determined to clear up what seem to be inconsistencies around his death.
George died in hospital on Sunday after being in collision with a car in Newport, Shrewsbury, less than two weeks after starting an agriculture course at nearby Harper Adams University.
Cameron and his wife Mary were also in England at the time, attending a horse trials event, but a misidentification of the tragic student led to his parents being denied the chance to be with him when he died.
Police, trying to identify the victim, found a wallet on his person which later proved not to be his but, instead, belonged to a fellow student on the course, Oliver Smith.
It’s believed the pair had similar wallets.
It was not until Oliver’s parents had endured a horrifying wait to see the body that efforts were made to find out who it really was, and by the time Cameron and his wife Mary were informed, they were back home in the Borders and their son was already dead.
Inspector Nigel Webster, of West Mercia police, said: “Difficulties were experienced in the early stage of this investigation which tragically led to the misidentification of George.
“Our inquiries are ongoing at this time, and our sympathies remain with the family.”
However, that is not the only apparent anomaly as George’s phone is still missing, despite him having sent a group Snapchat to friends in the Borders at 3.58am on Sunday, mere minutes before the collision that killed him.
Cameron said: “George had been out with pals and had had a few beers, but the fact that he sent the Snapchat means he was upright, was compos mentis and had the dexterity to use his phone – not stumbling around drunk.
“And the fact that his phone was not on him, and it’s not with the police, opens up new possibilities.
“I believe he could have been assaulted before he was hit by the car.
“George had an iPhone, which has a ‘find my phone’ feature, which should pinpoint where his phone is, or at least where it was when the battery died.
“If that shows it was miles away from where he was found, it proves there must have been a third party, who could have attacked George just before he was run over.
“We just need to hack into his iCloud to get that information.
“I have asked GB Technologies in Galashiels to attempt that for me.”
Mr Crawford also revealed that parts of George’s actual wallet, containing the likes of loyalty cards, had been handed in to police, which could lend extra credence to the theory he had been assaulted.
He said that he bears no grudge towards the police, saying: “I’m a realist. Police resources are scarce due to budgetary cuts, and I’m not expecting West Mercia police force to drop everything and jump to this, which is why I am desperate to fill in the gaps and find out what happened.”
We asked West Mercia police for comment on the mystery surrounding the phone and wallet, but they had not replied by the time we went to press.