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J. Sutton ‘suicide’ case terminated: Questions remain

Turkish Authorties have closed the case with a unanimous vote




By Taylan Harman

On Sunday October 18th, around 1.00am, an ex-BBC journalist, Jacqueline Anne Sutton, was found dead, hanging from a rope in the washroom at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul.

She was found by a security guard, hanging 7cm from the ground by a shoe-lace, according to health workers and the guard.

“I did not see her or anything suspicious,” said the security guard, the first of the airport personnel to see her hanged after witnesses reported it.

Initially No Footage

Although footage showing the 50-year-old entering and around the airport was released, Oddly, No footage of her can be found between the times 23:16.43 to 00:22:21. She was supposed to board the plane at 23:15 pm, but, apparently, missed the plane, even though she was in the waiting room with the other passengers.

Jacqueline was initially found by three Russian women (Initials of these women:  T.A., I.E. and F.E.: Their identities were not recorded, only their phone numbers.

Their statements were taken by the Security Guard (Initials:T.B.): Sutton had an argument with after missing her flight, in writing, where one of them wrote: “The officers came late to the airport.”

Sutton initially arrived at Istanbul airport from Heathrow at 10pm local time for her connecting flight to Erbil, North Iraq Kurdistan, which departed on schedule at 23:15, Saturday 17th October, giving her plenty of time to board the plane.

According to Turkish state news agency, Anadolu ajans (ANA) Ms.Sutton appeared distressed after missing her flight and committed suicide because she had no money to board the plane. However, she had 23000 euros in her pocket when found dead, much more than what a flight to Erbil would cost.

Having said that, she surely knew that she can get a ticket brought by someone-else, new agency she worked for, fellow journalists or even her family, which prompts even more questions.

However, According to the Guardian, the family have said they have seen CCTV footage with no time gaps and still photos, sparking the thought as to why initial reports indicated no camera footage. But Turkish authorities, according to the same report, said that they provided the family with the full dossier of evidence, including ‘still CCTV images’ – no mention of actual video footage was made.

Jacqueline had issues with PTSD

Jacqueline, after being detained for spying in Africa for five years: “I was unable to cope… I was being detained as a spy and deported and many people fled the country”

“I got (a scholarship) to do a PhD at Leeds University, but my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and I think I had PTSD from the detention so I was unable to cope.

“Now there would be counselling, but back then I was given Prozac (anti-depressants) and told to soldier on. I took Prozac for a month, but it had some seriously weird side effects so I stopped.”

She had received death threats from ISIS

Ms. Sutton voiced fears of ISIS targeting her while she worked in Erbil in an email to her friend, Amanda Whitley: “I’m in a hotel at the moment – a low key one with hardly any guests. The accommodation that had been prepared was basically one room and a bathroom above the office with only one door in and out, and that off the street.”

So if someone came in uninvited I was trapped and, as my Kurdish friends said, ‘It just needs one whacko to hear in the Friday prayers that killing foreigners is jihad, and they’ll come knocking at your door in a heartbeat.’”

Friends cast doubt on the official story by ANA

Shocking and sad news about the death of Jacky Sutton in Istanbul. An international not just local investigation is needed,” said Rebecca Cooke, fellow Journalist and Development worker.

Jacky was, at the time of her death, the acting Iraq Director at the institute for War and peace, also held positions in humanitarian organisations and the United Nations. She was a research scholar at the Centre of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University, and wrote for Vegan ACT and Her Canberra Magazine. She also spoke five languages.

No, that’s impossible … we’re not talking about a girl. She’s a woman, an official woman, she’s a big manager,” said Iraqi journalist Mazin Elias.

Christian Bleuer – friend and colleague of Jacqueline tweeted: “Toughest woman u could meet. Turkish police say she committed suicide cuz she missed her flight?” Bleuer added: “I’m not into conspiracies, but if the Turks say a security camera at Istanbul-Ataturk was ‘malfunctioning’ then Jacky Sutton was murdered.

Award winning Kurdish Journalist Hiwa Osman tweeted: Unless I see evidence beyond reasonable doubt that #JackySutton committed suicide, I am convinced that she has been killed. RIP

“All of her friends and colleagues who knew her better than me find it impossible to understand. It doesn’t accord with what anything anyone knows about her.I’m not going to say I knew what was in her heart and mind but she had a positive nature and outlook. She took her new role as a really solemn commitment following the trauma of Ammar’s death,” said Anthony Borden, executive director of the IWPR.



Family accepted her death as suicide

Initially, her brother (Ian Sutton) – and sister (Jennifer Sutton – voiced doubts on the Suicide story.

Ian cited “odd circumstances” of her death.

He said: “There do seem to be some very odd circumstances. She had too much to live for and too many people relying on her to simply quit.”

Her family had expressed their satisfaction with Turkish authorities work and believe she “acted alone”.

Turkish Authorties have closed the case with a unanimous vote

The Republic public prosecutor Senol Yilmaz, who was leading the investigation into Sutton’s death, has terminated the investigation with specific notes to their opinion of her circumstances before the suicide: She spent two hours in the airport, contacted nobody during time and consumed some alcohol.

The decision came after Forensic report stating that the cause of death was suicide.

What now

It is difficult to pinpoint the difficulties that led to her eventual death. It is not easy for people, even those that seem strong, to cope with such mental disturbances – anxiety, depression, PTSD ect. – for too long of a time. And if she did commit suicide, the possibility of a long battle with depression and a sudden snap caused her to commit such an act

Saying that she chose death because she merely missed a flight she was two hours early to and did have not enough money buy another ticket for (Even though she did:2300 euros in her bag – is a ridiculous claim;” a lazy one made by Turkish authorities. Idiotic at best and careless, dubious and a show of lack of seriousness at worst. This should be scrutinised.

Not even her mental health history is one of the things that conjures up ideas of a cover-up, which I do not agree with thus far.

It is also possible that a fear that “Isis was out to get her”, coupled with a history of ‘mental illness’ may have led to her death.

The lack of a suicide note is concerning or, if there is one of some kind, it is irresponsible not to share or cast aside this information as irrelevant. However, it is obvious that friends and family would have mentioned the existence of one (a text message, email, phone call, Facebook status, tweet, anything that can be deemed concerning.

A lot of people believe – especially her close friends – that she was killed. But her family seem to be accepting that she acted alone, which only explains a portion of the story even if that is the reality.

Either way, she is gone and will not come back, even if the story took a major turn. Condolences to the Sutton Family. R.I.P Jacky.



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