POPULAR Royal Agricultural University (RAU) professor John Alliston may have died from electrocution, Gloucester Coroners Court announced after an inquest opened today.

Professor in agriculture John Alliston died on Thursday, June 8 due to an “accident” which led to him being "tragically killed", according to the university.

The circumstances of his death were not disclosed by the university, but today, Gloucester Coroners Court revealed that the provisional cause of death was 'electrocution', with the histology to follow. 

The court also stated that the professor, who lived in Coates, died in Manor Farm House in Coates, Cirencester. 

The professor was described by the university as being “part of the fabric of the RAU, a valued colleague and a loyal friend, full of enthusiasm and passion for life.”

The RAU's statement added: “We appreciate that this news will come as a terrible surprise to staff, students, alumni, and friends of the university alike, but we know that the RAU community will support each other at this very sad time.

“Our thoughts and prayers must be with John’s family at this incredibly difficult time. They have asked that people do not phone or make direct contact for the time being while they come to terms with their loss.”

As a mark of respect, the flag was flown at half-mast on Friday, June 9 and students and staff observed a minute’s silence at 1pm.

Former students and friends came forward with tributes, which were published on the Standard's Cotswold front page last Thursday.

Today's Cotswold front: Former students pay tribute to popular Royal Agricultural University professor killed in accident