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Family of woman who died at Turkish airport sees no sign of foul play in her death

The family of a British woman who died in a bathroom cubicle at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport agrees with the official account on her apparent suicide. Her employers have also endorsed the official version of events.

A joint statement released by Jacqueline Sutton's family and her employer, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), implied that they were satisfied with the Turkish investigation.

"Based on an extensive review of the information provided by Turkish authorities, the family of Jacky Sutton and IWPR have reached the preliminary conclusion that no other parties were involved in her death," the statement read.

Turkish officials had announced on Monday that

Sutton had taken her own life

after missing a connecting flight to northern Iraq on the weekend. Her sister Jenny Sutton said the family had felt "deeply skeptical about initial reports" but now believed that no one had attacked Jacqueline.

"Based on the evidence we have seen, at this stage we believe that Jacky acted alone," Jenny Sutton said.

IWPR supports official account

The family said that Turkish authorities have cooperated fully and provided a complete dossier of information about the case. The family and the institute said their investigation would continue aided by an independent expert. However, they rejected initial reports saying that Sutton might have resorted to ending her life because she had no funds available to change her flight.

"Jacky had two credit cards and a large amount of cash with her, and there was no indication of theft or of any missing belongings," IWPR stated.

Based on the information available already, IWPR said that there was "no sign of struggle" based on CCTV footage, still photographs and an inspection of the body. Turkish news agencies had said that Sutton had strangled herself using shoelaces, which IWPR corroborated.

"There is no evidence that any item or material was involved in the incident other than items already in her possession," IWPR said on its website.

Post-traumatic stress?

Sutton, 50, was a former producer and broadcaster with the BBC and had held various positions with humanitarian organizations and the United Nations. She was also studying for a PhD at the Australian National University, focusing on media in war-torn countries, especially Iraq and Afghanistan.

In an autobiographical statement published on an Australian blog, Sutton said she had been "detained as a spy and deported" while working in Eritrea in the 1990s.

"I think I had PTSD from the detention so I was unable to cope," she said.

A difficult legacy to take on

Sutton had taken over her current position as IWPR's acting director in Iraq in June following the death of her predecessor, who had been killed by a car bomb in Baghdad in May.

She was returning from his memorial service in London, when she was found dead at the airport.

ss/msh (AP, Reuters)

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