Suicide at the Burj Khalifa

The title of the book which is still unfinished. ‘Suicide at the Burj Khalifa’.

Some of the outlines of the book. I will try to keep it as unemotional as I can.

In the late afternoon of 18 November 2014 I was informed of Laura’s death. Two days after her death. Was it sloppy police work, or was it deliberate?

I did not know that she had returned to Dubai.

Her death had not been covered by the media in Dubai. Was she still alive?

The initial communications between the Portuguese consulate in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Portugal is not represented in Dubai – and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Two vital inter-consular emails which did not impact on me at the time. My husband was seriously ill in the last stages of cancer, and was admitted to hospital where he stayed for three weeks before I took him home to die. I did not want him to die in hospital. I had been in denial. He couldn’t die. He died 29 days after Laura’s death.

Trying to find where Laura had been staying in Dubai. Apart from wanting to hold something that she had touched, one of her abayas, anything, I was hoping that through what she had left behind, on her computer and her phone, that I would begin to understand why she had taken her own life. My request to the Dubai Police, via Luis Camara, vice-consul of the Portuguese Consulate in Abu Dhabi, was ignored.

The person that had informed me of Laura’s death, gave me details of the final moments of her death,  which sent me on a quest to find the truth. Had she been murdered?

I couldn’t understand how Laura could have fallen to her death from the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa. How could she? How could she slip through one of the gaps between the two panes of glass? It shouldn’t have been possible. Surely they were too small? Where was security? Why didn’t anyone notice? Why didn’t anyone stop her?

I contacted the Burj Khalifa. I contacted the Armani hotel. I wanted to see the footage of Laura on the observation deck before she died. A blanket of silence.

Two weeks later, the conclusion of the police investigation into Laura’s death was suicide. I had more questions which Luis Camara could not answer so I started to communicate directly with the Dubai Police.

I had started to unravel on the day I was told that Laura had died but had to stay strong for my husband. Now that he was gone, I could start to grieve for Laura. I could grieve for him. His death was easier to accept. There was no unfinished business, and he was not alone when he died. He had lived a full life, and I had been fortunate enough to spend thirteen years with him, mostly for twenty-four hours a day. He was the love of my life, my lover, my soulmate, and my best friend, and he was finally free from the terrible pain that I witnessed while he was in hospital. My beautiful.

With Laura it was different. Our relationship had never been easy and at the time of her death we were estranged, but in the few messages we had exchanged in the final year of her life, we spoke about her returning to South Africa.


9 January 2015, two days after I received Laura’s handbag, I sent an email to Mubarak, attaching two photographs of Laura. “What happened to my daughter on 16 November?” There is no suggestion that Mubarak was responsible for Laura’s death. Her love for him was obsessive and she was not strong enough to break free.

Laura Vanessa Nunes_Suicide at the Burj Khalifa_Mubarak bin Fahad_Burj Khalifa_Leona Sykes


Laura Vanessa Nunes_Suicide at the Burj Khalifa_Laura's Voice Whispers from an Angel_Mubarak bin Fahad_Burj Khalifa_Emaar Property Group_Armani Hotel_Leona Sykes

Some more facts:

27 September 2015, a message which I sent to Maktoum. He had just lost his son, Laura had died almost ten months earlier. I was hoping to appeal to the gentler side of him, the poet. Needless to say I never received a reply from him…

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“Your son died recently…my daughter died on 16 November 2014.

What kind of country do you rule and what sort of ruler are you where you allow (or perhaps command) that the Government of Dubai, and the Dubai Police continue to blatantly lie about the circumstances of my daugher’s death from the Burj Khalifa?

I saw the footage at the Bur Dubai Police Station…you know that…and she slipped effortlessly through a gap between two panes of glass just above the handrail, from the At the Top Sky observation deck on the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa, landing on the balcony…”

25 July 2018…from wikipedia…


The Daily Mail reported that on 16 November 2014, Laura Vanessa Nunes, a Portuguese national who was in Dubai on a tourist visa, fell to her death from Burj Khalifa’s “At the Top” observation deck on the 148th floor.[126] However, on 18 May 2015, Dubai police disputed the report made by the Daily Mail on this incident and said that this incident took place in Jumeirah Lakes Towers.[127] A Dubai coroner’s report stated her body was found on the third floor of the Burj Khalifa.[128] Emails obtained under the Freedom of Information act from Portugal’s embassy in the UAE also confirmed that she had committed suicide from the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa.[129]

Laura Vanessa Nunes_Burj Khalifa suicide_Burj Khalifa_Laura's Voice Whispers from an Angel IMG_2165


15 April 2014, Laura was back in Dubai, from Saudi Arabia. From, ‘Laura’s Voice WHISPERS from an ANGEL’.                                                                                  

To her friend, Asima (name changed to protect her identity). Speaking about Mubarak…

“And after three weeks I was here I told him I was here…but still did not see him…nor want to right now! If I am meant to be with him it will happen. But Allah brought me back here so will see and be patient meanwhile.”

From Laura…1 March 2009…’Laura’s Voice WHISPERS from an ANGEL’.

“Who can turn raindrops into sunshine…and teardrops into smiles!!?” 

Laura Vanessa Nunes_Leona Sykes 173023_10150129267618633_2395564_o




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