Main image: Laura’s hanging prayer mat and prayer beads which were in her luggage
I was informed about Laura’s tragic death on 18 November 2014. I didn’t know that she had returned to Dubai. I needed to know where she had been staying so that her belongings could be sent to me and so that her cats could be rescued.
Part of an email which was sent by the Portuguese Consul in Abu Dhabi to various government departments in Portugal, the information obtained from the CID Police Dubai.
‘The CID has no record of her stay in a hotel establishment’.
The lies had begun. They had visited the Abidos Hotel, Dubailand, shortly after Laura’s death, following the clues in her handbag, the same clues I would follow a month later, in the handbag which she handed in at the check-in desk on the ground floor of the Burj Khalifa before taking the elevator to the At the Top Sky observation deck on the 148th floor, and to her death.
They knew exactly where she had been staying. Why was it so important to conceal this information?
Some of my communications with the Portuguese embassy in Johannesburg and the Portuguese Consul in Abu Dhabi.
“Laura also used to wear Arab clothes. Attached is another two pictures of her. I also send images of her and where she might have been staying in Dubai.
Is it not possible for the police to put a notice in the paper asking people to come forward if they knew her? Maybe there would be a better understanding of why she took her life.
To Luis Camara, Portuguese Consul in Abu Dhabi.
“Perhaps you could place one of the pictures in the Dubai newspaper inviting anyone who recognised her or knew her to come forward.
If you manage to locate the place where Laura was staying, would it be possible to arrange to have precious cats placed in a loving home, and for all her belongings to be sent back to me in South Africa.”
My emails were forwarded to the CID Police in Dubai. Needless to say there was no response.
How very naive of me. I didn’t realise at the time that the process of covering up her death from the Burj Khalifa was underway.
Laura and I had been speaking about her returning to South Africa. Her room had been repainted two days before her death in readiness for her return. I wish I had told her.
I collected her luggage from the cargo section of the airport, a customs officer going through each item piece by piece. I silently screamed at the intrusion. There were no custom duties to collect.
Back home I slowly unpacked her clothing, smelling her on a dress, a blouse…seeing her in my mind’s eye in the little black dress I made, walking with me at the Gateway Shopping Centre, her hair tied back into a high ponytail, her feet in high-heeled strappy sandals, she was so happy that day. Other memories, some good, some sad…
The following day I slowly put her clothes into her room, her make-up which had arrived with her handbag, already arranged on the dressing table…