Monday 19 March 2018

Friends of former BBC journalist found dead in Istanbul fear 'cover up'

The 50-year-old died in Istanbul's Atatürk International Airport on Saturday night, but friends have expressed concern about the local investigation

Jacky Sutton was the acting Iraq director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Jacky Sutton was the acting Iraq director for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting

David Barrett

Friends of a former BBC journalist have expressed concern over suspicious circumstances surrounding her death in Istanbul.

The British Foreign Office confirmed a Briton had been found at the city's main airport after arriving there on Saturday night.

Although she has not been formally named, friends confirmed she was Jacqueline Anne Sutton, known as Jacky, the acting Iraq director for the London-based Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).

Ms Sutton, 50, had been travelling to Irbil, northern Iraq, through Atatürk International Airport in Istanbul.

The nature of her death has not been disclosed although initial guidance indicated it was not thought to have involved anyone else.

However, friends of Ms Sutton expressed concern at suggestions that she may have taken her own life after missing a flight.

Unsourced reports in local media said she had been tearful at the ticket counter after missing a connection and was later found dead.

Christian Bleuer, a research fellow at the Australian National University who knew her well, tweeted: "Toughest woman u could meet. Turkish police say she committed suicide cuz she missed her flight?"

He added: "I'm not into conspiracies, but if the Turks say a security camera at Istanbul-Ataturk was 'malfunctioning', then Jacky Sutton was murdered."

The British Foreign Office said: "We can confirm the death of a British national in Istanbul.

"We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."

The IWPR has offices around the globe and seeks to support journalism in countries affected by war, conflict and other damaging events.

Its previous Iraq director Ammar Al Shahbander was killed in a car bomb attack in Baghdad in May, along with up to 17 other people.

A memorial service was held for him in London last week.

Ms Sutton worked for BBC World from 1998 to 2000 and later for several UN agencies.

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