AN ONLINE petition has already gathered thousands of supporters after a body was found in a lake on university grounds.

The discovery was made on Tuesday morning as part of the search for missing student Daniel Williams, who vanished in the early hours of January 31.

Formal identification is yet to take place, but Thames Valley Police informed the family of this update.

A petition on started by Ellie Stanley has already achieved nearly 8,000 signatures.

The petition reads: "We need lights round our lake.

"Taking into account the high frequency of people - students and members of the public - who walk around Reading’s Whiteknights Campus lake at all hours of the day and especially after the recent awful incident, I think we should start urging the university to realise that proper lighting around the lake walkways is a necessity."

Thames Valley Police released an update on Tuesday, confirming a body had been found during the extensive search for the Computer Science student.

The death is being treated as unexplained and is not believed to be suspicious.

A university spokesman said: “We have seen the petition around improved lighting on campus and the acting vice-chancellor has invited the petitioners to meet him to discuss their concerns further. Any concerns raised will be reviewed, along with outcomes from the Police investigation, and will inform any appropriate action that we take.

“Speculation around the circumstances of the tragic situation on campus is disrespectful.

"We're aware that a number of concerns have been raised with regards to safety around the lake and we will continue to support any further investigations.”

As well as improved lighting, other students - past and present - have made the case for fencing to be introduced.

Professor Robert Van de Noort, acting vice-chancellor, said: "I was saddened to learn that a body was found on our Whiteknights campus by police officers searching for Daniel Williams.

"It is a very difficult time and support is being offered to students and staff.

“We have been in close contact with Thames Valley Police during their investigation of Daniel’s disappearance and we will continue to assist them in any way we can.

"I would like to express thanks on behalf of the whole university to the police, all those who helped with the search and the thousands of people who shared the appeal for information.

“Daniel and his family and friends are in our thoughts.”

Visit: to view the petition.