A British policewoman who fell to her death in Corfu may have been plied with methanol-laced alcohol, cops on the Greek island fear. Hannah Emily Byrne was already dead when she was discovered by a passerby on the first day of her holiday in Kavos on Sunday.
The 22-year old, who was serving with Surrey Police had opted to stay out while her colleague returned to their hotel. She was found by the side of a main road having fallen several metres and had suffered a head wound.
Authorities on the island are now investigating whether her drink had been contaminated. The chief medical officer who first examined Hannah said he detected alcohol on her breath.
Yannis Aivatidis said: “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.”
The coroner said a postmortem on Monday confirmed Hannah had fallen from a height of several metres. Mr Aivatidis explained: “Findings included fractures to her thorax, stomach and a small rupture of the spleen. But it was a traumatic head injury that killed her.”
He added that he expected toxicology tests to reveal “the exact nature” of substances included in the alcohol the police woman had imbibed. “It is vital that these substances are revealed,” Aivatidis told the Mirror. “We expect the result in a few weeks and they are very important because with today’s postmortem everything else has been ruled out. We now know her death was an accident.”
Corfu’s police chief Spyridon Skolarikis, meanwhile, has put the island’s force on high alert, instructing officers to raid bars at “a minute’s notice” as alarm over the extent of adulterated alcohol being served in local establishments mounts.
Greek bars and clubs have been rife with pure spirit-laced alcoholic drinks in recent times, with 28 bars already closing since the policewoman’s death.
Surrey Police said in a statement on Monday: “Yesterday we were sadly made aware of the sudden death of a serving officer 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.”
An FCDO spokesperson said: “We are supporting the family of a British woman who has died in Greece and are in contact with the local authorities.”
Hannah’s stepfather, who is also a police officer, is expected to arrive on the island later this week in order to repatriate his her body.