'Depressed' newsreader found dead below cliffs

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Friends of a television newsreader whose body was found at a notorious suicide spot in Sydney have told of her "brave and private battle with depression".

Charmaine Dragun, 29, plunged to her death off sea cliffs known as The Gap on Friday. She was "determined not to allow [depression] to control her", the friends wrote in The Australian newspaper.

Ms Dragun was found hours before she was due to read the evening news. Police said they were not treating the death as suspicious. She had reportedly sent a text message to her long-term boyfriend Simon Struthers, a crime scene investigator, shortly before her death.

Sources suggested Ms Dragun may have become depressed after moving to Sydney from her home town of Perth. Her parents Michael and Estelle, and brother Matt, released a statement saying they would like her to be "remembered as an angel who brought joy and light to everyone she met".

Her Channel 10 co-anchor Tim Webster told The Sydney Morning Herald: "She was going great, we thought. It is indescribably sad."

Deborah Knight, who presents the 5pm Sydney news bulletin, said: "People are now wondering if we should have taken more interest in what was going on in her life."

Tributes to the "beautiful and elegant" news-reader have been flooding in from fans via the internet sites MySpace and Youtube, where clips of her journalism have also been posted. A Facebook page has been set up in her honour, in which one young woman has written: "Charmaine, I hope you are at peace now, I will miss you telling me what's happening in the world."

Ms Dragun studied broadcast journalism at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, before becoming a radio journalist. She then moved into television, rising through the ranks of TEN news to achieve her position of news anchor.

Reports suggest that she was planning a surprise wedding to Mr Struthers, whom she had been dating for eight years, timed to coincide with their joint 30th birthdays in March of next year.

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