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news 16 Oct 17

Romanian Girl’s Fatal Leap From Cathedral Shocks UK

Tragedy is likely to put focus on East European migrants who struggle to adapt to life in UK.

 St Paul's Cathedral in London. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Elueitie.

The death of a talented young Romanian who jumped off the dome of London’s landmark St Paul’s Cathedral has caused widespread shock in the UK.

Lida Dragescu, aged 23, leapt to her death on October 11 from the so-called Whispering Gallery, which runs round the interior of the baroque dome of the Cathedral designed in the 17th century by Christopher Wren.

Dragescu climbed over the safety barriers and jumped off in front of horrified tourists. The business graduate was just weeks into a new biomedical degree course at the University of East London.

Paying tribute to a loving but troubled daughter, her mother told London’s Evening Standard that she “loved God but was very sad” and had struggled to make friends. A voracious reader, Dragescu ran her own website, “Knowledge is our Duty”.

London is home to an ever growing community of Romanians whose numbers have spiraled since the last restrictions on their working in the UK were lifted in 2014. Some 413,000 Romanians and Bulgarians were recorded in living the UK at the end of 2016.

However, many of them struggle to adapt to an often anonymous and frustrating existence in a fast-paced and fiercely competitive city.

The UK mental health charity MIND says migrants “are at a higher risk of homelessness and destitution, which impact detrimentally on mental health” and notes higher levels “of post-traumatic stress which leads to anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal ideation”.

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