Naked Aussie woman jumped to death

00:05, Aug 27 2009

Rebekah Lawrence cried out her husband's name then started singing as she jumped naked to her death from a Sydney office block, an inquest has been told.

The 34-year-old plunged to her death from the second storey of the Macquarie Street building shortly before 7pm on December 20, 2005.

An autopsy found she had no drugs or alcohol in her system, but the incident happened two days after she completed a Turning Point self-help course described as a "journey to the core of the human spirit".

An inquest into her death at Glebe Coroner's Court is investigating whether the self-help course was in any way to blame for the psychosis that prompted her to jump.

Paramedic Gregory Price was first to respond at the building after being called to look after Ms Lawrence - considered a shy, gentle and model employee - who was running around naked in her office.

He told the inquest he arrived to see her standing by the open window and heard her talking to her boss, who was not present, telling him to go away.


She then started screaming and swearing at Mr Price in an agitated state with her eyes shut.

He retreated and sent a co-worker down to retrieve sedatives from the ambulance, but Ms Lawrence cried out her husband's name and jumped before the co-worker returned.

"I love you David. I love you David," Mr Price recalled her as saying.

He then remembered her saying in a "matter-of-fact" voice: "I know I'm going to jump."

As he rushed into the room, Mr Price saw the woman jump feet first out of the window and noticed she was singing.

A member of the volunteer support staff present during the five-day Turning Point program attended by Ms Lawrence told the inquest the course was like a "pressure cooker".

"People need strategies to adapt back to their day-to-day lives," Franco Vittozzi said.

Mr Vittozzi agreed with counsel assisting the coroner Robert Bromwich that the course - which included some childhood regression therapies - was about "loosening people up and breaking down their resistance to change".

He also acknowledged such therapies could have some unwelcome side effects.

"Would you accept that a course such as this for some people could be quite dangerous," Mr Bromwich asked.

"I suppose so, yes," he answered.

The inquest before Deputy State Coroner Malcolm MacPherson continues.