Police are this morning speaking to the Korean man who was rescued from the ledge of a high-rise apartment while the body of his partner lay in a pool of blood in a laneway below.
A tradie on his way to work made the grisly discovery yesterday about 6.30am outside the Leura building in Sydney's lower north shore suburb of Chatswood. Soon after, the visibly distressed man appeared on an awning below the 27th floor.
Police were unable to remove the woman's body or examine the scene while tense negotiations with the man continued for about 12 hours above them.
A Korean interpreter was called to the scene to assist police, who handed the man water and a cigarette as they tried to end the stand-off safely.
He stopped speaking to them about 3pm and police formed a plan to pull him from the awning. At about 7.20pm they managed to pull him inside, with the man appearing to surrender peacefully before being arrested.
No charges have yet been laid and police are trying to determine how the woman came to fall from the building. Her body could not be removed and police were unable to examine the scene as long as the man was still on the awning.
Late last night, Superintendent Phillip Flogel said the man was believed to be in a relationship with the woman.
"We believe that this may be a domestic violence-related incident," he said. "We believe they were known to each other, that they were in a relationship for at least a few weeks ... but whether they were still living together is a matter for further investigation."
The man is believed to be a resident of the building.
Asked about the woman's injuries he said: "It would appear she has fallen from the unit block."
She and the man are both aged in their 30s.
Flogel said officers managed to talk the man down before he was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital as a precaution where he remains under police guard.
Tradesman Luke Hamilton said it was obvious the woman was dead "due to the harshness of the scene".
"I went over to wake her up, but then realised she was not going to wake up," Hamilton said. "There was blood coming out of her face."
He could tell within 15 seconds that the woman was dead. "She was really cold. There was blood smeared on the wall. So either she walked there and fell over and touched the walls, or somebody else had touched her."
The man was at times seated with his legs overhanging the awning and only occasionally stopped glancing at the ground many floors below. He stared for long periods at where a police tent had been set up around his partner's body. At one point during the stand-off he leaned his head right over the awning.
Soon after climbing on to the awning, the man took his shoes off and placed them beside where he sat, dangerously close to the edge. He could be seen occasionally glancing anxiously back over his shoulder into the gym behind him, where a crime scene had been established.
A worker from the office building opposite the apartment said an email went around their floor advising that the blinds had been shut and not to open them.
Without the blinds, office workers would have had a clear view of the tense scenes unfolding on the awning.
One woman told news.com.au police had stopped her leaving the building. She said her young children were alarmed to hear about the death of the young woman.
Other residents said they hadn't been told what had happened, but restrictions were placed on upper levels, from about the 21st floor.
WHERE TO GET HELP:
If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
OR IF YOU NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE:
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 (available 24/7)
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757