HAS the mega-rich Emirate been caught in a huge lie about the circumstances of the death of a tourist at a popular attraction?

The final moments of Laura Nunes

MAY 20, 2015 10:02AM


HAS the mega-rich Emirate been caught in a huge lie about the circumstances of the death of a tourist at a popular attraction?

IT’S a baffling case. A woman plunged to her death from a building in Dubai six months ago, but there are still conflicting accounts of her final moments.

Leona Sykes has shared harrowing details on her Google+ account of how her daughter Laura Vanessa Nunes jumped from the 148th floor of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, last November.

Ms Nunes, 39, had been in a bad emotional and mental state after her relationship with a local businessman failed.

The Portuguese woman’s suicide initially went unreported in the Emirate, which strictly controls what information appears in the media. Initial requests by Mrs Sykes to see the CCTV footage from the tower were ignored, and police also wouldn’t help. So, determined to find out what happened, Mrs Sykes flew in to Dubai in March.

She refused to believe it would be possible for her daughter to have fallen from the 828 metre-high tower with its supposed safety features.

Even stranger, apparently nobody at the popular tourist attraction noticed she had fallen.

While in Dubai, Mrs Sykes claims the police finally allowed her to see the CCTV footage from the observation deck.

“I went to the Bur Dubai police station this morning and they were very cooperative and sensitive and concerned about how I would handle viewing the footage,” she wrote on the Google+ account.

“I told them that I had to see it as I needed to know what happened to my daughter and that I would handle it, so they showed me the footage. What a loss of a beautiful young life.”

The gap in the safety barriers was too big, and Ms Nunes was able to jump through.

“My daughter slipped through a gap between two panels of glass just above the handrail. After this tragedy the police requested the Burj Khalifa make the gaps smaller. Which they did.

“ … If my daughter, an adult female, could slip through the opening, so could a child and its highly irresponsible of the Burj Khalifa and the Emaar Property Group to have had an opening that size just above the handrail, or in fact anywhere on a deck that’s 555 metres above ground level.”

However, the police have denied this version of events in local media reports today on the back of an article that appeared on the Daily Mail.

Major General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant to the Dubai Police Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs told the GulfNews that the woman had actually jumped from a different building.

According to the report, he said she actually fell from the 14th floor of the Jumeirah Lake Towers apartment, and that a police team investigated at the time and found no evidence of criminal activity.

This afternoon Mrs Sykes wrote in response to the GulfNews article: “Unbelievable. Money is their god, not Islam …”

She told news.com.au: “The police know exactly where she had been staying at the time of her death. They had been there after her death and removed her Portuguese passport from her belongings.

“Her South African passport with my contact details were in her handbag. In the meantime all my requests to know where she had been staying were ignored.”

Mrs Sykes has shown news.com.au a copy of the coroner’s report, which states the fact that the body was found at the third level of the Burj Khalifa.

She also questioned why they changed the windows at the Burj, and why so secretly.

So the question remains: why would the police have different versions of what happened?

Mrs Sykes says she remains tormented by what happened to her daughter: “I am still very cut up about my daughter’s death … still haven’t fully accepted it yet … and as more pieces of the puzzle are fitted my heart gets broken even more.”

news.com.au has contacted Dubai police, Emaar, the company which owns the Burj Khalifa, and the Jumeirah Lake Towers for comment.

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