The father of Souvik Pal, the Indian university student found dead in a canal in Manchester after going missing on New Year’s Eve, said it was “tough” to accept the loss of his son as he prepared to fly back to India with his body.

“It is very tough to accept that he is no more but I have to gradually come back to reality and think about his mother and younger brother.

He was a very loving and caring person and that is what he will be remembered as,” said Santanu Pal .

“Souvik was a very creative boy and his painting skills were incredible. I will soon be getting all his paintings and other belongings together from his college.”

Professor John Brooks, vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University where Souvik was a student, said the staff and students were “devastated”.

“This is desperately sad news for Souvik’s family, friends and fellow students. We extend our sincerest thoughts and deepest condolences to Souvik’s father, Santanu, who we have been working closely with in the past few weeks, and to his family and friends in India and Manchester.

Many of the people associated with Souvik at the university and in the wider region have been personally involved and deeply touched during this search,” he said.

Souvik’s body was found in Bridgewater Canal — not far from the nightclub where he was last seen after being separated from his friends on New Year’s Eve.

A post-mortem failed to establish the exact cause of the death but police ruled out foul play. More toxicology tests were planned.

“We do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances surrounding Souvik’s death and a file will be submitted to the coroner in due course,”said detective chief inspector Colin Larkin.

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