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A Tortoise File

Fallen women

Twenty-seven women. Falling. Falling off balconies; falling out of windows; falling off the edges of multi-storey car parks. And there, in most of the cases, is a man, standing in the shadow of her fall. And nobody is counting.

Fallen women

First published
Monday 4 April 2022

Last updated
Sunday 3 April 2022

Why this story?

On 6 August 2018, Bianca Thomas fell from the 11th floor of Birmingham’s iconic Cleveland Tower. Her body was broken beyond repair and she died nine days later.

Bianca’s family think she might have been pushed over the balcony by her boyfriend, but they’ll never know for sure because the police dropped their homicide investigation, and the coroner returned a verdict of accidental death.

But what if she was pushed? And what if there are more women like Bianca across the UK who are falling in suspicious circumstances, and their deaths aren’t being fully investigated?

In a way, it’s the perfect crime. The forensic evidence is slim. A body so shattered it leaves no trace of any tussle that might have come before the fall; no blood pattern at the crime scene; no weapon; no witnesses to the fall. A case of he said, versus she can’t say.

But look a little closer and you see a pattern emerge. Falls happening at home. A man often arrested at the scene. Neighbours who say they heard an argument – sometimes screaming – right up to the moment the woman fell. And friends and family who come forward to say the boyfriend was abusive and the woman was scared. Gemma Newby, Producer