Former British Library manager, 29, jumped 80ft to her death from exclusive restaurant after her Western lifestyle was revealed on Facebook and exposed to strict Muslim parentsRema Begum left behind string of suicide notes, inquest hearsMiss Begum had tried to hang herself the day before she jumped
01:11 GMT, 13 December 2012
A woman leapt to her death from a City rooftop restaurant after a Facebook stalker exposed her westernised lifestyle to her Muslim parents.
Rema Begum, 29, plunged 80ft from the terrace of Coq d’Argent after sipping a glass of wine and climbing on to a ledge.
She landed in front of horrified workers outside Bank Tube station and died instantly. Once the ‘life and soul of the party’, she had been plagued by an internet stalker who used information from her Facebook profile to send poison pen letters to her and her parents.
The Coq d'Argent restaurant, where Miss Begum jumped to her death
She was also suffering depression
after losing her manager’s job at the British Library following a row
with her bosses, an inquest at City of London coroner’s court was told
Miss Begum feared she was living an
impure life and as punishment was worried she would not be allowed into
paradise. On September 4, she went to Sir Terence Conran’s Coq d’Argent
and ordered a glass of wine.
At about 6.30pm, she put down her
handbag and glass, with a note underneath it, and diners saw her climb
onto a ledge and fall eight storeys.
Sir Terence Conran owns the exclusive restaurant
Including Miss Begum, four people have plunged to their deaths from the building since 2007.
A post-mortem revealed she was not drunk, and the court heard she had left a string of suicide notes dating back four months.
In her handbag, police found anti-depressants, a bottle of vodka and a note containing contact details for her next of kin.
In the days before her death, Miss
Begum, who had lived alone in Islington, North London, confided how she
was ‘struggling’ to reconcile her Muslim faith and her lifestyle. The
day before she died, Miss Begum had been to her local hospital with her
parents after she tried to hang herself – but insisted it was a cry for
attention and promised she would not do it again.
Her university friend Avril Atkins
said she had been a ‘very happy, very bubbly’ woman ‘like the life and
soul of the party’, but had become reclusive. Although she came from a
‘traditional Muslim family’ and followed some practices including
fasting, she lived a ‘western life’ independently and had non-Muslim
partners which her family had found out about, Mrs Atkins said.
‘She had some problems with Facebook.
Somebody – she didn’t know who – had been sending letters to her parents
about her lifestyle and relationships.’ Miss Begum reported the abuse
to the police, before deleting her Facebook account and replacing it
with one using a different name, the inquest heard.
Miss Begum, who was also grieving for a
relative, had her British Library contract terminated after falling out
with management last Christmas, the coroner was told. Her depression
began shortly after that.
Mrs Atkins told the inquest: ‘Towards
the end she was having issues with one of her managers. It was causing
her a lot of stress.
‘One thing that did really worry me
was she did say to me she hadn’t been living a good Muslim life and that
she wouldn’t go to paradise and I was saying to her that she had done
nothing wrong with the way she lived her life, her family should be
proud of her.’
Miss Begum’s parents Abdul and Rufia Hakim did not attend the inquest.
Coroner Paul Matthews recorded a suicide verdict. He said there was no doubt Miss Begum was suffering from depression.
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