Woman leaps to death

2015-05-22 11:40
The Derek Hall flats in Jabu Ndlovu Street where a young woman jumped from the eighth floor yesterday.

The Derek Hall flats in Jabu Ndlovu Street where a young woman jumped from the eighth floor yesterday. (Ian Carbutt)

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A YOUNG women plummeted to her death from the eighth floor of a block of flats in the Pietermaritzburg city ­centre yesterday.

A group of devastated bystanders stood in shock outside the Derek Hall flats in Jabu Ndlovu Street just after 8 am yesterday, near where her body lay on the floor covered by an emergency blanket.

She was identified by flat residents as Nompumelelo Madlala (21) from Port Shepstone, who had come to live with her friend at the flat this week.

According to a police source, who asked not to be named, Madlala had been drinking at a local tavern with her friends on Wednesday night when she became intoxicated and “troublesome”.

Her friends brought her back to the flat and locked her in the room to sleep and sober up.

It is believed that early yesterday morning, Madlala awoke and shouted for somebody to let her out, banging on the doors of the room and throwing things around.

According to residents, Madlala threw a few pillows from the window of the flat and shouted at cleaners not to remove them.

A police source said it is presumed that the pillows were to help cushion her landing.

According to Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese, Madlala did not die immediately.

“Paramedics tried to resuscitate her but she died in their care. An inquest docket is being investigated,” Ngobese said.

One of Madlala’s friends, who asked not to be named, said yesterday that they had decided to go out on Wednesday night.

She said Madlala had too much to drink and became “disorderly”, so she and her friends took her back to the flat to sleep it off.

“She was disruptive and making a lot of noise, so we took her to the flat and locked her in the room. When we left her, she was sleeping,” the friend said.

The friend said she had no idea what had happened when they left, or why Madlala jumped out of the window.

“We don’t understand what she was trying to do. We all think she thought she would survive the jump and that’s why she threw pillows down to the ground. I am not coping. I am not okay,” she said.

One woman who works nearby said she was busy at her job when she heard a “loud bang” outside.

“My boss screamed for me to check on his car because he thought there was an accident, but when I got outside people were screaming and crying,” she said.

The woman said she recovered Madlala’s identity document, which was alongside her body.

Derek Hall Body Corporate chairperson Shahin Jooma extended his condolences to Madlala’s family.

“We are saddened that a young girl has lost her life,” Jooma said.

Yesterday, ER24 paramedic Emma Boreham said if a person was drunk or under the influence of substances, they should not be left alone under any circumstances.

“You could try to reason with them, but you definitely do not leave them alone, even if they are unconscious.

“The person needs to be observed and monitored until they are sober,” she said

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