Victim of Facebook stalker leapt to her death from rooftop restaurant

Rema Begum became distressed after her lifestyle was exposed to her Muslim parents

A former British Library manager who jumped to her death from a rooftop City restaurant was the victim of a Facebook stalker who exposed her westernised lifestyle to her strict Muslim parents, an inquest heard today.

Rema Begum, 29, was diagnosed with depression after losing her job following a row with library bosses last Christmas. Her health deteriorated and the once “bubbly life and soul of the party” was unable to leave the house because an internet stalker launched a hate campaign exposing her liberal lifestyle.

City of London Coroner’s Court heard Miss Begum began to fear she was living an impure life and told friends she was worried she would not go to paradise after her death.

On 4 September this year Miss Begum went to Coq d’Argent where she ordered a glass of wine on the terrace of the restaurant. She then leapt to her death. A post-mortem revealed she was not drunk.

Police found anti-depressants, a small bottle of rose, a bottle of vodka and a note containing contact details for her next of kin and her address in her handbag.

In the days before her death, Miss Begum, who lived alone in Islington, confided in a friend how she was “struggling” to reconcile her Muslim faith and her lifestyle. Avril Atkins told the court an internet stalker had used information from her Facebook profile to send hate mail to her and her parents. Miss Begum was so distressed she contacted the police.

Ms Atkins, who works in human resources, said: “Somebody had been sending letters to her parents about her lifestyle and her relationships and she believed they gained access to that information from Facebook.” Miss Begum, who had a masters degree, subsequently closed her Facebook account and opened a new one under another name.

Her depression began after her contract was terminated following of a clash with her bosses last Christmas, the inquest heard. Miss Begum had also been grieving for a relative. Ms Atkins said: “Towards the end she was having issues with one of her managers. It was causing her a lot of stress.”

Miss Begum also told her psychiatrist that she felt “guilty” for not living her life “according to her family values and religion”, and felt she would be “punished for leading a bad life”.

The inquest heard she had previously tried to take her own life and had to be saved by her parents.

Ms Atkins said her friend was a “very happy, cheerful, up kind of person”, but in the days before her death she had become increasingly reclusive. She was prescribed anti-depressants, underwent therapy and was under the care of a community mental health team.

In a long phone conversation shortly before she died, Ms Begum confided in Ms Atkins, who told the coroner: “She said she wasn’t living a good Muslim life and wasn’t going to paradise. I said there was nothing wrong with way she was living her life and her family should be proud of her.”

Miss Begum’s parents, Abdul and Rufia Hakim, did not attend the inquest.

The coroner, Paul Matthews, returning a verdict of suicide, said  there was “no doubt”  Miss Begum was suffering from depression. It was clear she went to Coq d’Argent with the intention of taking “action”, he added, and they were “not the actions of something gone horribly wrong”.

Four people, including Miss Begum, have jumped to their death from Coq d’Argent since 2007.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower