Suicide theory over 39-floor fall

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The Independent Online
Michael Streeter

Police in Brazil believe a 31-year-old British management consultant who fell to her death from the 39th floor of a luxury hotel may have committed suicide.

The body of Katrina Dunleavy, 31, who was on a business trip to Rio de Janeiro for the London-based accountants KPMG, was found by security staff at the five-star Meridien Hotel earlier this week. According to local police, a day before her death Ms Dunleavy had been removed from the "dangerous" out-of-bounds roof terrace from which she is believed to have fallen.

Yesterday staff at KPMG were shocked at the death of their colleague, who had been with the firm for three years. A spokesman said: "It is a tragic loss to her family and to all her colleagues in the firm. She was a very professional person, she was a good operator and highly thought of. We are saddened by this loss."

The spokesman added that the dead woman, who was single, had been on a normal assignment in Brazil, a country she had visited on business before. They could not speculate on what may have caused the tragedy.

Ms Dunleavy, who was originally from Liverpool, and who specialised in the telecommunications industry, had travelled with two colleagues to Rio last Sunday for a two-week business trip.

Gilda Antao, the local British pro-consul said a post-mortem examination had been completed but its findings have not been made public. "We do not know the exact details of her death but we have been in contact with her family," she said. "Arrangements are being made to bring her back to Britain."

The terrace from which she is thought to have fallen in the early hours of Wednesday is an emergency exit and cannot be locked, but there is a sign in three languages telling guests to stay away because it is dangerous. A police spokesman told reporters: "The investigation points toward suicide, but we are waiting for the forensic and coroner's reports to close the case."