Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Ms L (Name Subject to Suppression Order)

Inquest into the Death of Ms L (Name Subject to Suppression Order)

Delivered on : 23 December 2022

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Jenkin

Recommendations : N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order:

On the basis that it would be contrary to the public interest, I make the following order pursuant to section 49(1)(b) of the Coroners Act 1996 (WA): There be no reporting or publication of the deceased’s name. The deceased is to be referred to as “Ms L”.

Summary : Ms L died on 4 March 2021, from multiple injuries after stepping off the roof of a multi-storey apartment building in Adelaide Terrace in Perth (the Building).  She was 27-years of age.

Ms L was born in Germany and came to Australia in October 2019.  She had been diagnosed with depression in 2016, and was taking antidepressants at the time of her death.  Whilst in Perth, Ms L began a relationship with a man, and although they separated in August 2020, the relationship resumed in December 2020.  At around that time, Ms L was diagnosed with two common conditions, which were successfully treated.  Nevertheless, being diagnosed with the conditions appeared to exacerbate her depressive symptoms.

Ms L had decided she wanted to do some travelling in the Eastern states and on 2 March 2021, she booked into an apartment in the Building, with a view to seeing how she would manage on her own overnight.  When her partner was unable to contact her on 3 March 2021, he reported her as missing to police.

Following an investigation, police located Ms L in a toilet on Level 29 of the Building, and spoke with her in an adjacent open-air terrace area.  Although she appeared somewhat embarrassed by police presence, Ms L gave no indication of being significantly distressed whilst she was interacting with police.  She specifically denied any self-harm or suicidal ideation and officers assisted her to look for return flights to Germany when she indicated that was what she planned to do.  She asked whether her partner could come to the Building to collect her and had a phone conversation with her mother in Germany whilst on the terrace.

After she had been in police presence for about 20-minutes, Ms L produced a sanitary pad from her bag and excused herself to the toilet.  When she had not returned after a few minutes, police became concerned and went looking for her.  Ms L was not in either of the toilets on Level 29 and the adjacent door to the Building’s service area was locked.

Police assumed Ms L had left the Building and made their way to the ground floor, only to be advised a short time later that a person, who turned out to be Ms L, was on the Building’s roof.  Police returned to Level 29 and one of the officers unlocked the service door and accessed the Building’s roof by way of a ladder in the service area.  The other two officers accessed the roof by climbing a parapet wall in the pool area opposite the terrace.

Police were confronted with a highly distressed Ms L, who was standing precariously, on the south-east ledge of the Building.  Ms L ignored the desperate pleas of the police officer closest to her to step back from the edge, and she plummeted 30-storeys to the carpark below.  She died instantly from the injuries she sustained.

The coroner was satisfied that the actions of attending police had been reasonable and appropriate, and was unable to conclude that the actions of any member of the Police caused or contributed to Ms L’s death.

Catch Words : Suicide : Police presence

Last updated: 2-Feb-2023

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