NRI academic bailed in Oxford colleague`s death
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Last Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012, 23:28
London: An Indian-origin Mathematics lecturer arrested in connection with the death of his colleague in Oxfordshire, was on Friday released on bail, even as the wife of the dead professor said she did not believe it was a case of murder.

Devinder Sivia, who was arrested after his friend and colleague Steven Rawlings was found dead in his home, was today released on bail until April 18.

Rawlings wife Linda was distraught at her husband's death, but said he and Sivia were the best of friends, and she did not believe that her husband was murdered on Wednesday.

Sivia, 49, was arrested yesterday in connection with the death, which has shocked the academic world in the ancient seat of learning.

Rawlings, 50, and Sivia had co-authored a book together and were known to be close friends.

Linda said: "I do not believe Steve's death is murder... I do not believe Devinder should be tarnished. Steve and Devinder were best friends since college and I believe this is a tragic accident".

She added: "Steve is a man of integrity, kindness and a very accessible person. Steve was the love of my life and we have known each other all of these years and he has never changed, even though he has achieved so much and has all these qualities".

Linda Davey, Rawling's older sister, told The Telegraph that he was not the type of man to get into an argument over anything.

She said: "They have been friends for 30 years. We can't think that there was any kind of fight. We can only assume that it was a terrible accident. Steven was big, but he was gentle".

The Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University, Professor Andrew Hamilton, said the entire University community has been profoundly saddened and shocked by the tragic and untimely death of Rawlings.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends". Detective Superintendent Rob Mason said: "This is a tragic incident and our investigations are on-going to establish the cause of death. A substantial amount of information is already in the public domain and we can confirm that the two individuals involved have been friends for over thirty years".

Sivia, who is a stipendiary lecturer in Mathematics for Sciences at Oxford University, lectures to undergraduates studying chemistry and physics and has published two books.

Local resident Duncan Logan, who lives opposite the house of Sivia, said he had known both academics for several years and described them as "the best of friends".

He said: "I can't believe what I'm hearing it's like a bolt from the blue. They were the best of friends. They were nice, gentle, well-spoken, polite and hard working people. I am proud to have had both of them as friends. I never heard them row".

He added: "They seemed to respect each other enormously, and talked very highly of each other. I got a text about it today and at first I thought it was Devinder who was dead. I can't imagine Devinder hurting anyone. I've never even heard him raise his voice. He such a gentle person".


First Published: Friday, January 13, 2012, 23:28

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