Family of former BBC journalist found dead at Turkish airport believe she acted alone

The family of a former BBC journalist and international development worker found dead in a Turkish airport have said they now believe she took her own life. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Jacqueline Anne Sutton, known as Jacky, was found in a toilet at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Saturday night after flying from London.

Family and colleagues initially expressed doubt over reports that the 50-year-old had killed herself after missing a connecting flight to Iraq and admitting she did not have enough money to pay for another ticket.

But Sutton's sister Jenny has now said the family are "satisfied" with Turkish authorities' investigation.

In a statement released via her sister's former employers, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, she said: "The family is satisfied with the investigation undertaken by the Turkish authorities.

"We were deeply sceptical about initial reports. But based on the evidence we have seen, at this stage we believe that Jacky acted alone."

Sutton's family and the IWPR said they would be seeking an independent expert to look at her death following the Turkish investigation.

The statement added: "The Turkish authorities have co-operated fully and provided access to the complete dossier of evidence relating to the case, including copies of the CCTV images and all documentation."

They said footage shown to the family and a colleague indicate Sutton was alone and there was no sign of a struggle, adding that she had two credit cards and a large amount of cash, with no indication of theft or of any missing belongings.

The statement said there was no evidence that any item or material was involved in the incident other than items already in Sutton's possession.

Earlier this week, Sutton's boss at the IWPR described her taking her own life as "impossible to understand".

Anthony Borden, executive director of the IWPR, said: "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."

Sutton was appointed Iraq country director for IWPR at the end of June following the death of her predecessor Ammar Al Shahbander, who died in a car bomb attack in Baghdad in May.

Sutton had been in London to join Al Shahbander's family, friends and colleagues at a memorial service for him at St Bride's Church in Fleet Street last week and was due to catch a connecting flight from Istanbul to Erbil, according to the IWPR.

Borden said Sutton was in "high spirits" when they had lunch last week and Al Shahbander's service had left everyone feeling "inspired and re-committed" to the cause.

Sutton had worked as a producer for BBC World Service from 1998 to 2000 and served with the United Nations in numerous senior roles that took her from Afghanistan and Iran to west Africa and Gaza.

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