Friday, September 29

British policewoman, 22, who died in ‘accidental fall’ in Corfu ‘may have unwittingly drunk alcohol laced with methanol’

A British policewoman who died following a reported accidental fall in Corfu may have unwittingly drunk alcohol laced with methanol, Greek cops fear. 

The 22-year-old victim, who has not yet been named but worked for Surrey Police, was found with severe head injuries on a side street in Kavos in the early hours of Friday.

The police officer had arrived on the island just hours before the fatal fall that saw her plunge from a height of several metres, reports the Sun. 

The Briton had decided to stay out while her colleague went back to their hotel on Friday night and Greek authorities believe the fatal injuries she sustained outside a bar are compatible with an ‘accidental fall’. 

But authorities on the Greek island are now investigating whether the victim had unwittingly drunk alcohol that had been laced with methanol, which is much more toxic than the ethanol found in regular alcoholic drinks.

Leading coroner Ioannis Aivatidis, who detected alcohol on the Briton’s breath, told the Sun: ‘There are questions as to what kind of alcohol she consumed. Had it been illicitly tampered with? 

‘Was she so intoxicated because [illegal] methanol was in the alcoholic drinks she had consumed? The answer lies in the toxicology tests that will be carried out.’

A British policewoman has died following a reported accidental fall just hours after she arrived on the Greek island of Corfu on holiday (file image of Corfu Old Town)

A British policewoman has died following a reported accidental fall just hours after she arrived on the Greek island of Corfu on holiday (file image of Corfu Old Town) 

In the hours after the police officer was found dead, authorities in Corfu announced that 28 bars would be shut down after they were found to be serving adulterated alcoholic drinks to customers. 

Sources said that the closures were ‘more than coincidental’ given that they occurred following raids that were conducted shortly after the Briton was found dead. 

Aivatidis told the Mirror there was no evidence the British police officer had been attack. Instead, he said that a postmortem examination had revealed she had fallen from a height of several metres. 

Aivatidis told the Sun: ‘Findings included fractures to her thorax, stomach and a small rupture of the spleen. But it was a traumatic head injury that killed her.’

The coroner said the findings suggest there was no criminal involvement, which echoes the view of Greek police. 

He said it was unclear whether the victim had been with her friends at the time of her accidental fall.

Aivatidis said: ‘I believe she may have confused the building she was staying in and may have fallen attempting to enter the one she was found outside of in an unorthodox manner.

‘What remains unclear and is now part of the [police probe] is whether she was abandoned by friends after the fall.’  

Aivatidis said he would be carrying out further examinations of the 22-year-old’s body including toxicology tests today.

The victim was allegedly left bleeding on the street – possibly for hours – before she was found, according to Greek media.  

The woman’s friends, who had travelled to Corfu on holiday with the victim, had told Corfu police that her phone was missing at some point during Friday night, suggesting that it might have been stolen. 

But her mobile was found ‘nearby’, making the accidental manner of her death ‘now much more possible’, Aivatidis said. ‘But the autopsy will be definitive. It will rule out other possible scenarios.’ 

The victim’s stepfather, who is also a police officer, is expected to arrive on the island to repatriate the policewoman’s body back to the UK this week.  

Meanwhile, Surrey Police said in a statement on Saturday: ‘Yesterday we were sadly made aware of the sudden death of a serving office whilst they were on holiday in Corfu, Greece.

‘We are working to support both their family and their colleagues here during this extremely difficult time. 

‘An investigation into the circumstances of the death is being led by the Greek authorities and we await further updates from them as they conduct their enquiries.’

The Surrey Police Federation echoed these sentiments and said the police officer’s death was ‘devastating’.

It added: ‘The thoughts of all at Surrey Police Federation are with the officer’s family, friends and close colleagues at this time. Both the Federation and the force are supporting them.’

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office told MailOnline: ‘We are supporting the family of a British woman who has died in Greece and are in contact with the local authorities’.

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