■ Fa­ther of Aus­tralian woman who was mur­dered in Suva speaks out

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - AVI­NESH GOPAL

The fam­ily of an Aus­tralian woman who was mur­dered in Suva ear­lier this week is heartbroke­n.

Jennifer Ann Downes was found dead by Po­lice of­fi­cers in her house at Ser­vice Street in Do­main on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

Her fa­ther Chris Downes, who ar­rived in Suva from Aus­tralia on Wed­nes­day night, told the Fiji Sun yes­ter­day that it was a very dif­fi­cult time for the fam­ily.

“We are heartbroke­n at the loss of

our daugh­ter,” he said.

“She was a car­ing and vi­brant lo­gis­ti­cian work­ing in the South Pa­cific re­gion. Through her hu­man­i­tar­ian work over al­most 20 years around the world she made many friends who are all griev­ing at this loss.”

Ms Downes worked as a lo­gis­ti­cian for the United Na­tions World Food Pro­gramme in Suva.

She mar­ried Henri Lusaka in Novem­ber 2012 and the cou­ple have three chil­dren.

Po­lice say Mr Lusaka is the prime suspect. Mr Lusaka al­legedly at­tempted to take his life on Tues­day af­ter­noon at the cou­ple’s house. He was in a sta­ble con­di­tion at Colo­nial War Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal in Suva last night.

Po­lice have clas­si­fied Ms Downes death as mur­der af­ter a post-mortem was con­ducted at CWM Hos­pi­tal on Thurs­day. How­ever, they can­not pub­licly re­lease the post-mortem ex­am­i­na­tion re­sult be­cause the mat­ter is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Mr Downes said the fu­neral ar­range­ments for Jennifer were yet to be fi­nalised. On the where­abouts of her chil­dren, he said, “Please be as­sured that our three lovely grand­chil­dren are with us and safe”. “They are in a safe, se­cure and lov­ing en­vi­ron­ment. There are so many things that de­mand our at­ten­tion.

“The Aus­tralian High Com­mis­sion, the UN and the Fiji Po­lice are be­ing so help­ful and are giv­ing us

much as­sis­tance,” said Mr Downes.

Po­lice spokesper­son Ana Naisoro said yes­ter­day that there were no changes in the in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­cause Mr Lusaka was still ad­mit­ted in hos­pi­tal. Ac­cord­ing to Mr Downes, Mr Lusaka is not an Aus­tralian cit­i­zen and he only has a Per­ma­nent Res­i­dency visa for Aus­tralia. He was not work­ing in Fiji and never has.

He is orig­i­nally from the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo.

The late Jennifer Ann Downes.

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