Meir student's death not treated as murder
POLICE have completed their search of a flat where the body of an 18-year-old woman was discovered.
Officers had been at Victoria Heaton's home in Leacroft Road, Meir, since Tuesday evening.
A police cordon covering the flat and an adjoining house was lifted at around 2pm yesterday.
In a statement, Staffordshire Police said they were continuing to treat Victoria's death as unexplained, but not as a murder inquiry at this time.
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A post-mortem examination carried out by a Home Office pathologist on Wednesday was inconclusive and further tests are being carried out.
Inspector Chris Harrington, from Stoke-on-Trent South Local Policing Team, said: "Although we're still awaiting the test results, our inquiries so far lead us to believe that Victoria was not murdered.
"We're continuing to offer support to Victoria's family at this very difficult time for them.
"The investigation is ongoing and forensics officers carried on their work at the flat on Thursday.
"Local uniformed officers remained in the area throughout the day to address any concerns that residents have."
Dozens of flowers have been left outside the former Sandon High and Berry Hill High School student's home by grieving friends and family.
Officers were called to the scene at 5pm on Tuesday by a visitor to the flat who discovered the body.
Police yesterday posted leaflets through the doors of neighbouring properties to update them on their inquiry.
One resident of Leacroft Road, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The police cordon was lifted at about 2pm and the forensics van left earlier in the morning.
"The leaflets said the death was still being treated as unexplained, but they were not looking at is as a murder inquiry.
"We haven't heard anything else, other than they are waiting for the results of some more tests.
"I think my partner feels a bit more reassured now that the police have said it's not a murder."
Another neighbour, who wished to remain nameless, said: "There's been a few more people come to the house to leave flowers and pay their respects.
"It seems strange going from police being at the house all the time to there not being any at all."
More tributes and messages of sympathy were left on Facebook last night.