Dunedin party victim Sophia Crestani's family pay tribute to 'beautiful daughter'

The family of the student who died at a Dunedin house party are paying tribute to their "beautiful daughter".

Nineteen-year-old Sophia Crestani was reportedly killed during a pile-up inside the house as panicked party-goers sought to escape the overcrowding.

"You will appreciate that it is a very difficult time for us," her parents Bede and Elspeth said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"We are grieving the loss of our beautiful daughter and so is the community which Sophia knew and cared for."

The family say that the funeral for their daughter, who has a twin, will be private.

Community in 'shock', 'grief'


Crestani's death has left the Dunedin student community in "shock" and "grief", OUSA president James Heath said on Monday.

A drop-in centre would open from Tuesday to help students, and he encouraged them to seek support.

"Most significantly, we urge our students to be there for each other. Reach out to your friends and flatmates. Talk, listen and show the strength of our community," he said.

Crestani's former school principal, Queen Margaret College head Jayne-Ann Young told Newshub the community is "deeply saddened" by the news.

"Sophia touched many lives during her time here. Sophia was a cheerful, positive and personable young woman and it was always thrilling to see her creative and technical flair ignited inside the Materials Technology classroom," she said on Monday.

She said the school is focused on providing care and support for the members of the community who are affected. 

"Our Head of Senior School and Chaplain are both on their way to Dunedin to support our previous students.

"We have a dedicated area at the College where all past and present students, staff and members of our Queen Margaret College family are welcome to meet to offer their support and celebrate Sophia's memory together," Young said.

"Our condolences, prayers and thoughts are with her family and friends today."

Police investigation continues


On Monday, Police said inquiries into what happened at the property will continue.

"Police have now finished their scene examination at the property, and have spoken to a number of students who were present," said Area Prevention Manager Inspector Wil Black.

"We're still keen for anyone who was there who has information that may help Police form a detailed timeline of what happened, to get in touch with us."


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