Outrage over woman who died after 12th floor fall

Jennifer Davies died after falling from the 12th floor of her Craigmillar flat. Picture: Paul Bain
Jennifer Davies died after falling from the 12th floor of her Craigmillar flat. Picture: Paul Bain
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OUTRAGED friends of a vulnerable woman who fell to her death from a tower block have demanded to know why more was not done to save her life.

Jennifer Davies, 32, who suffered from schizophrenia, was found naked slumped on the ground after falling from her 12th-floor flat in Craigmillar Court.

Those who knew her said in the weeks leading up to her death her behaviour had becoming increasingly concerning and that she had spoken of problems with her medication and her fears over the controversial bedroom tax.

It is understood Jennifer, who was originally from London, was sectioned just weeks before the tragedy and had already made an attempt to take her own life.

Friends and neighbours say she should never have been allowed to stay in the block given her vulnerable state, and that she should have been moved to a safer environment.

Former neighbour and friend Ronnie Anderson, 67, believes more could have been done to save her.

He said: “She should not have been up that high when the authorities were perfectly aware of her medical condition. In the past she had said to me she had felt suicidal and I had told her, ‘you don’t want to do that’.

“The way things have happened, it’s as if she never existed.”

Mr Anderson, who now lives in the Cowgate, said that Jennifer had spoken of her concerns about the bedroom tax.

It is understood she had requested a move from the block, where she lived for around ten years.

Mr Anderson said: “They knew about her mental health condition all of the time she lived there – they knew the risk. It was suicidal giving her the chance to go and do it – and she did it.”

Another neighbour, Paul Bain, 40, described Jennifer as a “bubbly” girl, but said she had deteriorated after possibly being subjected to a sexual assault earlier this year.

He said: “In the past 12 months she started to decline. Sometimes you would see her walking down the street and she would just look through you as if you were a ghost.

“A few months ago I saw her getting in to a police car. After they took her away it was as if she had changed. It’s really tragic, I was quite close to her.

“For three years she was just left to get on with the medication she was on, but then they started messing her about and giving her pills that she wasn’t comfortable with.

“More should have been done for her – it was handled so badly, putting her in the 12th-floor flat. She was failed by the authorities.”

According to NHS statistics, around one in 20 people with schizophrenia will take their own life.

Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “She was a great person, she never harmed anyone. Now she’s gone and she’s not here to tell the truth. If she had tried suicide before that’s something the council should have dealt with – they should have moved her somewhere safe.”

The friend said that after Jennifer raised fears over the height she was living at, she was simply told to “keep away from the windows”.

Craigmillar councillor Mike Bridgman said more interaction between authorities involved in the welfare of vulnerable people was needed.

“The different agencies involved should be able to share information about an individual,” he said. “It would be better to have a joined-up approach that there hasn’t been in the past.”

Jennifer’s family declined to comment on her death.

A city council spokesman said: “The council provides a range of support services for tenants and we had been working with Ms Davies in a number of respects. We were very sad to hear about her death and our thoughts are with her family.”

Lorna Martin, chief nurse, Royal Edinburgh Hospital, said her thoughts were with Jennifer’s family and friends.

She said: “Generally patients are discharged from hospital when it is deemed clinically appropriate and have an 
individual discharge plan which includes details of follow-up care and treatment if appropriate.”