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Monday, May 18, 2015

Woman Begins Investigation On What Killed Her Daughter In The World’s Tallest Building


A lovesick woman committed suicide by jumping from the 148th floor of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, after a break-up relationship with a wealthy businessman.

The death of 39-year-old Laura Vanessa Nunes, in November last year has gone unreported in the autocratic Emirate, where public information is tightly controlled.

And her devastated mother has claimed that Emaar, the property group behind the 2,700ft high Burj Khalifa, has refused to return repeated requests for information about the tragedy.


Leona Sykes, from South Africa, travelled to Dubai to seek answers because she can't believe how easily her daughter was able to leap from the major tourist attraction with supposed modern safety features.

She convinced Dubai police to show her the CCTV taken from the observation deck, despite the harrowing nature of the footage.

According to Miss Sykes, the video shows Miss Nunes walk towards the viewing platform's glass security panels and put her head through a small gap designed to allow tourists to look out and take photographs.

She then rushes to the back of the observation deck, apparently in fear.

'I think she got a fright when she looked down. She was a panicky terrified young woman," - said a distraught Miss. Sykes. 'She walked back to the pane of glass, turned around and looked up, maybe to get strength or to make a prayer.

'Then she put her head out, tilted her body and slipped through. And nobody noticed.’

After falling 1,640ft, her body was found on the terrace of the 3rd floor Amal restaurant, part of the Armani hotel.

Although the Burj Khalifa is a popular attraction among both tourists and those living in Dubai, Miss. Nunes' death, on November 16 2014, has gone unreported until now.

The suicide took place on a Sunday afternoon, when the Amal restaurant would typically be packed with guests.

Messages on mobile phone app WhatsApp show appear to show how Miss Nunes became increasingly distraught over her relationship with the businessman whom she first met in 2011.

Miss. Sykes told MailOnline that she believed her daughter, who held South African and Portuguese citizenship, was to meet the man two nights before her death.

Miss Sykes fears that clues about her daughter's decision to end her own life may have gone missing.

A BlackBerry mobile phone recovered from Miss. Nunes' body was returned to Miss. Sykes without its SIM card or memory card.

The SIM card would have contained any messages that Miss. Nunes sent while she was on the viewing platform of the Burj Khalifa contemplating suicide.
When Miss. Sykes contacted the businessman, he initially denied having any recent contact with is Miss. Nunes. But he later admitted that they had been in contact when presented with evidence of messages sent between the pair.

There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the part of the businessman.

But Miss. Sykes wants to know how the Burj Khalifa, built at a cost of nearly £1billion as a shining monument to Dubai's oil wealth, could ever have installed safety barriers that proved so easy to elude.

She believes Emaar Properties should already have been aware of the risk of suicides, after an Indian man jumped to his death from the 147th floor of the Burj Khalifa in 2011.

'It's horrifying,' - said Miss. Sykes. 'My daughter unfortunately wanted to kill herself. But it should not have been possible for someone to do that. How can you have a top tourist attraction where that's possible?', - she queried.

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