Break-up: Woman plunges from world’s tallest tower

A heart-broken woman jumped from the world’s tallest building in Dubai after she discovered that her boyfriend “did not like her as much as she loved him”.

The South African woman, Laura Vanessa (39) who also held Portuguese citizenship, leapt from the hundred and forty eight floor of the BuriKhalifa in Dubai after splitting up with a wealthy Emirate businessman. According to her mother, she had been in a bad emotional and mental state after the relationship turned sour.


May 21 st, 2015

Digging for the truth

Her suicide initially went unreported in the Emirate, which strictly controls what information to be broadcasted or published in the media. Her mother’s request to see CCTV footage from the tower also was initially denied. Leona Sykes, therefore, travelled to Dubai several months later to seek answers about her daughter’s death which occurred last November. She told reporters she could not believe how easily her daughter could throw herself from the building, which is a major tourist attraction with modern safety features.

Sykes eventually managed to persuade the police to show her the footage. According to her, the video showed her daughter 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 rushed 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 Sykes. 'She walked back to the pane of glass, turned around and looked up, maybe to get strength or to pray.’

'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 on the third floor of the Amal restaurant which is part of the Armani hotel.’


Now Sykes doubts police’s different versions about the death of her daughter  and she fears the clues about her decision to end her own life might have gone missing after a BlackBerry mobile, recovered from her body, was returned to her mother without SIM card.


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.”

She said her daughter was "good-hearted" but vulnerable, partly due to a facial disfigurement at birth.

"She was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, which created a lot of insecurity for her. She was teased as a child. She had surgery to correct it in her early 30s," she said.


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