Tributes to policewoman, 22 found dead in Corfu as cops explore new theory

Investigators have said that a British policewoman who fell to her death in Corfu may have been plied with methanol-laced alcohol.

Hannah Emily Byrne, a serving officer with Surrey Police, was found dead by a passerby on the first day of her holiday in Kavos, Corfu, on Sunday, September 3.

The 22-year-old had opted to stay out while her colleague returned to their hotel and was found by the side of a main road having fallen several metres and had suffered a head wound soon after.

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Her family have paid tribute to her in a statement, describing her as “extremely kind, funny, and caring”.

They said: “Our beloved Hannah was beautiful inside and out. She was extremely kind, funny, caring and had a real zest for life.

"She will be greatly missed by all who loved her.”

Chief Superintendent Chris Colley, Divisional Commander for East Surrey, said: “Hannah’s death has been a shock for everyone who knew her.

"She was a bright, enthusiastic and respected officer just at the start of her career in policing and she will be sadly missed. "

Meanwhile, Yannis Aivatidis, the chief medical officer who first examined Hannah, is exploring the theory that her drinks may have been laced with a dangerous substance.

"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?" he said.

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"The answer lies in the toxicology tests that will be carried out."

The coroner said a postmortem on Monday (September 4) 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.

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