Asia-Pacific

'She will be forever missed': Australian UN worker allegedly murdered in Fiji

Jennifer Downes. Source: WFP/Jemma Pietrus

An Australian mother-of-three has been killed in Fiji and her Australian husband is in hospital, according to reports.

An Australian woman has been found dead in Fiji and her husband is in hospital with local media reporting that the case is being treated as an alleged murder.

Mother-of-three Jennifer Downes worked for the United Nations' World Food Programme (WFP) in Suva and her husband is Henry Lusaka John.

Mr John, an Australian citizen originally from Congo, is at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, according to the Fiji Sun.

The WFP confirmed the death to SBS News and said they were "saddened by the sudden passing of our dear colleague".

"A national of Australia, Jenna had worked as a logistics officer for WFP in the Pacific since 2017," the WFP said in a statement on Wednesday.

"For Jenna, logistics was more than just a job. It was a passion that she pursued with unmatched dedication and professionalism. She will be forever missed by our WFP family.

"Our thoughts are with Jenna’s children and loved ones during this difficult time."

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said consular assistance was being provided to the family of the Australian woman.

"Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment," he said.



In a 2018 interview with the WFP, Ms Downes - who was known professionally as Jenna Lusaka - said she "lived and breathed" her job and loved the fact she was "constantly learning".

"I’ve worked in humanitarian logistics in both Vanuatu and Australia, while also giving birth to my three beautiful children," she said in the interview.

"Being a mum to three kids under four has only enhanced my logistics capacities."

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