A NORTH Wales woman who fell 100ft to her death from a bridge while on a working visit to Australia, had been arguing with her boyfriend.
Rhian Phillips, 22, of Wellington Road, Wrexham, plunged into the river at Brisbane and drowned, a Flint inquest heard yesterday.
Although Australian police had taken statements from her French boyfriend, Pierre Moureau, saying she had “jumped”, Mr Moureau told the inquest she was drunk and had “toppled”.
Miss Phillips, who had trained as a nanny and carer, had gone to Australia in March.
But she and boyfriend Pierre had struggled to find accommodation and work and their relationship had been put under great pressure.
In her last telephone call to mother, Karen Phillips, she had told her Pierre was not speaking to her.
Mr Moureau told the inquest they had gone to a nightclub on April 26. They had been arguing and he described Rhian as drunk.
They left to return to Kangaroo Point Motel in the early hours of the morning.
According to Mr Moureau’s statement to police, Rhian had walked across the road without looking for traffic, saying she didn’t care.
As they crossed the Story Bridge, which is about 100ft (30m) high, Mr Moureau told Australian police he had told Rhian he was finishing their relationship and wanted to return home.
But he told the inquest he had never said their relationship was finishing or that Rhian had “jumped”.
He told the inquest Rhian walked quickly towards the bridge fence, which was about waist high, and “toppled” over, said Mr Moureau. As she went over she tried to grab hold of the fence but fell into the river.
Detective Senior Constable Todd McGuire took a statement from Mr Moureau at the time which said: “She jumped over the railings into the water without warning”.
River police recovered the body about an hour later and a post mortem showed she had drowned. Toxicology showed 164mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, about twice the drink drive limit.
Deputy North east Wales coroner John Gittins said: “There is a degree of conflicting evidence arising from the reporting of the circumstances of the fall by police in Australia.
“I have no reason to doubt Mr Moureau’s evidence. It may well be the reporting of her jumping arises from difficulties in Mr Moureau properly explaining himself in his second language.”
Mrs Phillips described her daughter, a former pupil at Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, as “very intelligent and bright”.
She had worked as a nanny in America and she had found being unable to get work in Australia very frustrating.
The family had sent her money to support her and the last text from her she seemed hopeful it might lead to her finding permanent accommodation.
Mr Gittins, recording a verdict of accidental death, said: “She was clearly a young bright girl with her future ahead of her.
“She enjoyed travelling and will be remembered with love by those who knew her.
“Given the information I think there is evidence that his was an accident.
“In an intoxicated state Rhian has gone to the railings, perhaps in an act of defiance, we do not know, but has in some way managed to fall from the bridge.”