Tributes paid after 'bright and enthusiastic' British policewoman, 22, found dead while on holiday in Corfu

5 September 2023, 09:14

Hannah Byrne was just 22 when she died
Hannah Byrne was just 22 when she died. Picture: Facebook

By Emma Soteriou

Tributes have been paid to a “bright and enthusiastic” British police officer who suffered a fatal fall in a Greek tourist hotspot.

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Hannah Byrne, 22, fell on the first day of her holiday in Kavos, a village in Corfu, and was found dead with a head wound.

The Surrey police officer went out on Friday evening with her friend, later staying out when her companion went back to the hotel.

She was found dead by a main road the next day, after falling several metres.

Ms Byrne's family released a statement paying tribute to her.

“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."

Read more: Crooked House owners fly to Corfu and £20,000 a week villa - and 'plan to address pub controversy on return'

Read more: Corfu evacuation order issued after flights to Rhodes cancelled leaving terrified Brits fleeing raging wildfires

Hannah Byrne
Hannah Byrne. Picture: Facebook

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. 

"As a Force, we are now doing everything we can to support her family and her colleagues at this extremely difficult time."

Local investigators in Corfu are now trying to work out if Ms Byrne was given tainted alcohol, and if this contributed to her death.

Yannis Aivatidis, the chief medical officer for the area, said he felt alcohol on Ms Byrne's breath.

Hannah Byrne
Hannah Byrne. Picture: Facebook

He told the Sun: "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?

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

Several bars in Corfu were recently raided and were found to be lacing drinks with methanol.

Aivatidis added: "Findings included fractures to her thorax, stomach and a small rupture of the spleen.

"But it was a traumatic head injury that killed her."

Aivatidis said authorities do not believe there was any criminal involvement in her death.

Hannah Byrne
Hannah Byrne. Picture: Facebook

He added: "I believe she may have confused the building she was staying in and may have fallen attempting to enter the one she was found outside of in an unorthodox manner.

"What remains unclear and is now part of the [police probe] is whether she was abandoned by friends after the fall."

Hannah's stepfather is expected to arrive in Corfu to bring home his stepdaughter's body this week.

Surrey Police said on Saturday: "Yesterday we were sadly made aware of the sudden death of a serving officer whilst they were on holiday in Corfu, Greece.

"We are working to support both their family and their colleagues here during this extremely difficult time.

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