Friends of a popular student are searching for answers after he was found dead just hours after running from a hospital.

Paulo Junior, 34, who was studying for a PhD at the University of Essex, was taken to Broomfield Hospital on Thursday morning after being spotted in distress at Stansted Airport.

But the Brazilian national, whose full name is Paulo Henrique Dias Junior, ran away from hospital staff after arriving, and was later discovered in the grounds of a house less than a mile away.

Friends are mystified by the unusual behaviour of the student, who arrived at the university’s Colchester campus in January and had been due to stay for the rest of the year.

PhD student Tara Van Ho, who worked in an office opposite Paulo, said: “He was a very friendly person who was always smiling.

“He was excited to be in Colchester and integrated really well into our group and this is so shocking for all of us."

Full story in today's Gazette