American woman named after Lothian Road suicide shocker

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By Christine Lavelle

IT has been revealed that the woman who leapt to her death from a fourth floor window of the Caledonian Hilton Hotel in Edinburgh was American businesswoman Melanie Tong.

The 30-year-old was an associate at London management consultancy firm McKinsey and Co, and is believed to have checked in to the five-star hotel on Tuesday.

Ms Tong smashed a window to get out onto the ledge which overlooks Lothian Road, and apparently rocked herself back and forth for around 10 minutes before tipping herself off the edge when ambulance staff arrived.

Onlookers said she appeared “distressed” and “desperate” before she jumped at around 8.40am on Wednesday.

A hotel source said: “She came in on Tuesday and was pleasant to the staff.

“There wasn’t anything about her that stood out.

“She was typical of our business guests, pleasant but distracted as most of them are when they are in town for work.

“Just after 8.30am, a man came running into the hotel and said someone had fallen from a window on to Lothian Road.

“It was absolutely horrific.”

It is also believed that Ms Tong left a suicide note, apologising to her parents and siblings.

A police source said: “We understand she had been feeling down for some time prior to her death.”

The businesswoman’s parents Jesse and Ena were being comforted at there home in Houston, Texas, after receiving the horrifying news, and a relative said they were too upset to comment.

Ms Tong graduated with an MBA from London Business School last year.
Big Issue vendor Martin Crawford – who covers the patch outside St John’s Church directly across the road from the Hilton – told hotel staff had tried to negotiate with the woman.

He said: “I got here at 8.15am and guys from the hotel were trying to communicate with the woman who was sitting on the ledge outside.

“She had dark hair and was wearing dark clothes.

“One of the hotel workers appeared to be talking to her on a phone or some kind of radio, but she never once looked up.

“She was rocking back and forwards in a really sinister way and just kept looking down.

“The street was cordoned off before she had even jumped.

“They knew it was going to happen.

“As soon as the ambulance arrived she leaned over and let herself go.

“The ambulance staff hadn’t even got out of their vehicle when she did it.

“When she fell she bounced off the side of the building a few times, it was pretty horrific.”

A Hilton Worldwide spokesperson said: “It is with deep regret that we can confirm a female guest has died outside the Caledonian Hilton Edinburgh on Princes Street early on Wednesday October 13.

“We offer our sincere condolences to her family at this difficult time.

”The safety and security of our guests and staff is our primary concern and our team members undergo regular training in preparation for such an eventuality.

“We can confirm that Lothian and Borders Police are investigating the matter and we are fully co-operating with them.”

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