St John’s tutor Dr Devinder Sivia was granted bail yesterday after being arrested following the death of Professor Steve Rawlings.
Professor Rawlings was pronounced dead at the house of Dr Devinder Sivia on Wednesday night. Dr Sivia has been bailed until the 18th of April.
The wife of Professor Rawlings has said that she does not believe that her husband was murdered.
Linda Rawlings issued a statement saying, “I do not believe
that Steve’s death is murder and I do not believe Devinder should be tarnished in any way.”
Her statement added, “Steve was a well-loved, caring, intelligent, sensitive man. Steve and
Devinder were best friends since college and I believe this is a tragic accident.”
She spoke of her late husband’s integrity and kindness, concluding, “I will miss him more than anything else in the world.”
Rawlings had been a fellow of St Peter’s for eleven years, leading Oxford’s sub-Department of
Astrophysics from 2005 until 2010. Tributes have commended the scientist as a “great man and a great astronomer.”
Oxford’s Department of Physics have released a statement on their website describing Rawlings
as “creative and inspirational.” They describe his scientific contributions as destined to have “an
enduring influence” on scientific understanding of distant galaxies, adding, “Steve was not only an
excellent scientist but also a dedicated tutor and mentor — he was central to much of what happens
in Oxford Astrophysics.”
Mark Damazer CBE, Master of St Peter’s, emailed students and staff at the college saying Rawlings was “a very popular man who had achieved a great deal and yet was very modest.”
He stated, “I have spoken to Steve’s wife, Linda, and conveyed to her our profound sadness and our great admiration for her character. I told Linda Rawlings that I have received many emails — not only from within the University. Many alumni have written also.” Damazer concluded, “Our thoughts go to all Steve’s family, friends and colleagues.”
St John’s President Sir Michael Scholar also sent his condolences to the St Peter’s community, asking Damazer to “convey on behalf of all at St John’s to all at St Peter’s, and in particular to Professor Rawlings’ family, colleagues, students and friends, his great sense of sadness about Steve’s death.”
Thames Valley Police have released a statement revealing that post-mortem results have proven inconclusive and that further tests will be carried out.
Det Supt Rob Mason, from the Major Crime Unit, 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.
“I would emphasise that the police are investigating all potential circumstances that could have led to his death. We are mindful that ultimately the death may be a matter for a Coroner’s inquest rather than a criminal court and I would ask for patience from both the media and the public while we continue our investigation.
“Due to the post-mortem examination results proving inconclusive and further examinations being required, this has necessitated a lengthy bail date.’