Car plunge death will never be ex­plained, fam­ily fears

MYS­TERY OVER SIXTH-FLOOR FALL

Sunday Sun - - News - By Tom Eden Reporter tom.eden@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

Linda’s wrecked BMW X6, in which she suf­fered fa­tal in­juries af­ter a car park ac­ci­dent THE fam­ily of a woman who plunged to her death from the sixth floor of an Abu Dhabi car park have spo­ken of their sad­ness that her death will never be ex­plained.

Linda Al-Selmie’s white BMW X6 re­versed through a bar­rier and she suf­fered fa­tal in­juries as the ve­hi­cle hit the ground 80ft be­low in Jan­uary 2015.

An in­quest at Crook Coro­ner’s Court into her death re­vealed the bar­rier was too short, too close to the edge of the car park and not strong enough.

And coro­ner Crispin Oliver said a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Mrs Al-Semie’s death is now un­der way in the United Arab Emi­rates.

The court heard skid marks from the 53-yearold’s 4x4 tyres were left in the park­ing space, where the driver ap­peared to have slammed on her brakes.

Mr Oliver said: “I have re­ceived ev­i­dence from Abu Dhabi po­lice’s foren­sic ev­i­dence depart­ment, on be­half of the at­tor­ney gen­eral in re­spect of the bar­rier and a ma­trix re­port into the strength of the bar­rier, which I un­der­stand Mr Wa­jhi Al-Selmie be­lieves to be un­sat­is­fac­tory.

“A re­port on the bar­ri­ers, pub­lished in De­cem­ber 2015, said the bar­rier has not been con­structed in ac­cor­dance with the guid­ance. The bar­rier at the edge of the build­ing was 16.68cm too short and should have been 110cm fur­ther from the edge.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tions into the 90cm-tall bar­rier showed it was nei­ther high enough, nor far enough from the edge, to ad­here to reg­u­la­tions. Mrs Al-Selmie died at the scene from an in­ter-cere­bral haem­or­rhage and crushed chest, the coro­ner found, af­ter her BMW fell 24m and landed close to the Sheik Khal­ifa en­ergy com­plex’s main en­trance.

Af­ter a two-and-a-half year wait fol­low­ing the tragedy, Linda’s Bri­tish-based fam­ily say they are re­lieved to have “some­thing re­sem­bling clo­sure”.

Her sis­ter Mar­jorie Car­ney told of her sad­ness that the fam­ily will prob­a­bly never know what caused her to plum­met from multi-storey car park.

Speak­ing af­ter the coro­ner’s ver­dict of ac­ci­den­tal death, she said: “We will never know what caused the car to go over the bar­rier in these cir­cum­stances,” she said, adding: “but we now know there’s a fault with the build­ing.”

Linda grew up in Dar­ling­ton be­fore spells study­ing in Cardiff and liv­ing in Manch­ester, be­fore mov­ing to the Mid­dle East with hus­band Wa­jhi Al-Semie, an Iraqi-born en­gi­neer.

Mar­jorie said her sis­ter “loved liv­ing over there,” but hit out over a lack of sup­port from govern­ment of­fi­cials in es­tab­lish­ing what hap­pened in Linda’s fi­nal mo­ments.

Mar­jorie also praised the coro­ner and coro­ner’s of­fi­cer Dawn Carter for deal­ing with au­thor­i­ties in the UAE, as well as the tire­less ef­forts of the late woman’s hus­band, say­ing “with­out his ef­forts, we wouldn’t have even got this far.”

Wid­ower Wa­jhi con­tin­ues to fight for an­swers in the UAE, but the fam­ily aren’t con­fi­dent that the on­go­ing crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings will amount to “proper jus­tice”.

Mr Oliver added: “It ap­pears to me the pro­ceed­ings in the UAE are of a reg­u­la­tory na­ture, rather than those likely to re­sult in a man­slaugh­ter, or cor­po­rate man­slaugh­ter charge.” CORO­NER CRISPIN OLIVER

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