Wife leapt off building days after self-help course, court told

The Age, Australia/August 10, 2009

By Bellinda Kontominas

A woman who jumped naked off the building where she worked had attended a "high intensity" self-help course days earlier, a NSW inquest has heard.

Rebekah Lawrence's behaviour in the days following her participation in the Turning Point program, run by People Knowhow, was "extreme and disturbing" the inquest at Glebe Coroner's Court heard today.

Counsel assisting the inquest Robert Bromwich said that, in the two hours before Ms Lawrence's death, she had been "aggressive, somewhat abusive and somewhat foul mouthed, all of which were totally out of character".

"Her death was not a suicide because she didn't have sufficient presence of mind to take her own life," he said.

Ms Lawrence, 34, jumped from the Macquarie Street, Sydney, building where she worked as a personal assistant for the chief executive of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

Ms Lawrence's husband, David Booth, told the court the couple had been "warned" by a friend who had already completed the four-day course, that Ms Lawrence was likely to feel upset and unbalanced afterwards.

"Rebekah was concerned at this point," Mr Booth told the court. "I was quite bewildered why someone would be concerned about completing a self-development course. I thought Rebekah would get a lot out of it."

But Mr Booth said his wife began displaying strange, detached, behaviour during the course, "almost like someone on drugs" and would stare at him "like in a dream state".

The inquest continues.

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