Body found on Skye confirmed as Dr Oliver Smith

Photo: University of St Andrews
Photo: University of St Andrews
Photo: University of St Andrews

A body found on Skye last weekend has been confirmed as missing St Andrews lecturer Dr Oliver Smith.

Dr Smith, a lecturer in Russian at the University, went missing on the Isle of Skye almost two months ago.

He was visiting the area with his wife and daughter. According to police, the 33-year-old planned to climb the Blaven peak then descend and walk via Loch Coruisk and the coastal path to Elgol. The alarm was raised when he failed to return to his holiday accommodation later that day.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Circumstances are not believed to be suspicious. A report will be made to the procurator fiscal.”

Dr Smith came to St Andrews in 2008 when he was appointed to a teaching fellowship in the Russian Department. He became a permanent lecturer in 2010 and was involved in many aspects of both academic and social life. He taught at both sub-honours and honours level and also worked as an examinations officer, library officer, co-ordinator on the Mundus post-graduate programme, the Russian study abroad programme, and served as a liaison for the university’s environmental policies.

Principal Louise Richardson praised Dr Smith in an email to staff and students for his “dry wit, a very sharp intellect, a scholar with a stellar career ahead of him and, most importantly, a readiness to give of his own time to help others.”

She commented: “Our thoughts and sympathies lie very much with his wife Shelley and their young daughter Thea”

Rebecca Emerick, a former student of Dr Smith’s, told The Saint:”The Russian department is one of the smallest in the university and for that reason we’re all pretty close knit. One thing the students have in common is our love for the five great characters who teach us- Whitehead, Keys, Emily, Svetlana and Dr Oliver Smith.”

“Dr Smith was very popular. He was kind, friendly and extremely mischievous- everything you want in an tutor. It was only really when you sat down over a game of Russian Scrabble with him and watched him instantly whip up multiple triple word scores in one go or heard him on the piano that you glimpsed how intense and elegant his mind was.”

“I know I speak for all of us who knew him when I say his absence is felt very deeply.’


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