Dunedin house party victim revealed as 19-year-old Sophia Crestani

The woman who died at an out of control Dunedin house party over the weekend is understood to be Sophia Crestani.

The 19-year-old attended Queen Margaret College in Wellington before moving to Dunedin for university.

In 2017, Crestani had a dress she made displayed in the National War Memorial. The dress was inspired by the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 and represented the loss of life during the battle. 

Queen Margaret College principal 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.

Young said Sophia's teachers described her as "friendly, enthusiastic and conscientious".

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 were called to the out of control party on Dundas Street on Saturday night.

A witness, who did not want to be named, told Newshub police cleared people out and the victim was brought out in a terrible state.

"The girl, I'm presuming is the one who passed away, she was carried out by four people and outside the front of the house, they were probably doing CPR on her for about 15 minutes before taking her onto an ambulance.

"Seeing her being wheeled away, I could see the heart rate monitor and it was just a flat line, so that was pretty awful to see."

"It was such an awful sight to see, you know there was obviously a girl dying on the side of the road," the witness said.

They said the house was dangerously overcrowded with no room to move.

Police are yet to officially identify the woman but are investigating what happened and ask any attendees to get in touch. 

Sophia Crestani.
Sophia Crestani. Photo credit: Facebook

Students are being urged to seek support in the wake of the death.

James Heath, president of Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) says the death has affected the community.

"It's obviously a deeply shocking situation for our student community," says Heath. "Any students needing support today, we encourage them to reach out to Campus Watch and going forward reaching out to and OUSA Student Support, Student Health."

Police were called to the property around midnight on Saturday, with reports of around 600 people present at the time.

When officers arrived on the scene many partygoers were already in the process of leaving, but some were injured in the crush.

"Everyone was terrified and everyone was pushing," says witness Adam Currie. "You're just so incredibly claustrophobic and you just sort of go  'ah' and everybody just runs."

Currie says more needs to be done to prevent similar incidents happening in the future.

"We need a warrant of fitness, we need something that's going to make sure that flats are okay and that it's not able to happen. Obviously there's a massive combination of factors - it's the flat, it's the alcohol, it's the amount of people. But I think it was the pure amount of people and the panic."

Two people also sustained injuries at the event.


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