Jacky Sutton: British journalist who worked for BBC found dead at Istanbul's Ataturk airport

Tributes have been paid to a 'highly valued friend and colleague'

A former BBC journalist has been found dead in suspicious circumstances at an airport in Turkey. 

Jacqueline Sutton, known as Jacky, died at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on her way to Irbil, Iraq, according to Turkish media.

A journalist and student, she was due to carry out fieldwork in Irbil for a PhD on international development support to female media professionals in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is not yet known how Ms Sutton, 50, died. Friends questioned Turkish media reports that she killed herself after missing a connecting flight to Erbil and not having the money to buy another ticket.

Rebecca Cooke told the Press Association: “Shocking and sad news about the death of Jacky Sutton in Istanbul. An international, not just local investigation is needed.”

Tributes have also been paid by Ms Sutton’s colleagues. Professor Amin Saikal the director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University, where Ms Sutton was studying, said staff were “deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic death of one of its brilliant PhD students.

According to the BBC, he said: “She was not only an outstanding research scholar, but a highly valued friend and colleague who made remarkable contributions to the work and activities of the centre.”

The Foreign Office confirmed it is providing consular assistance to Ms Sutton’s family.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.