A lecturer at the University of Cumbria has paid tribute to a promising student who died in a crash just weeks after embarking on a career as a mental health nurse.

Casey Leigh Sowerby, 19, was killed on Tuesday following a collision on the A66 between Broughton Cross and Bridgefoot, near Cockermouth.

The teenager, from Workington, was a mental health nursing student at the university in Carlisle.

When the news of her death broke, lectures were suspended for the day.

Dr Louise Nelson, head of department for health, nursing and professional practice at the university, said: “We’re absolutely devastated about the tragic loss of Casey. She’d just started as a student nurse and was looking forward to a long and caring career as a mental health nurse.

“The staff and students, even in the short time they’d known her, had recognised she had the qualities, compassion and determination for this career. Our heartfelt sympathy go to her family and friends.”

The university’s counselling service is offering support to students and staff.

Miss Sowerby was a former pupil of Workington’s St Joseph school.

Jacky Kennedy, headteacher at St Joseph’s, also paid tribute to Miss Sowerby.

She said: “Casey is remembered by staff as being a fantastic student and a delight to teach. She joined us in 2011 from St Gregory’s and was with us to year 11 in 2016 in St Oswald’s tutor group with Mr Gabuguga as her head of year. She was very kind, hardworking and conscientious.

“Mr Gabuguga remembers Casey as a wonderful student with a real commitment to school life and a very close friendship group. She had everything to look forward to.”

Miss Kennedy added staff had gathered to pray for Miss Sowerby, her family and her friends yesterday morning.

She said: “Our thoughts are with everyone who knew Casey at this very sad and difficult time.”

Miss Sowerby was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident, which happened at around 8am.

She was driving a Citroen C3, which collided with a Citroen Berlingo Van.

Police have confirmed that a 31-year-old man who was arrested after the incident is now being treated as a witness.

Officers would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident. Phone 101 for Sergeant Callum Radzan or email 101@cumbria.police.uk.