Aussie aid worker death: Partner charged
THE husband of an Australian aid worker, killed in Fiji late last month, has been charged with her murder.
Jennifer Downes, also known as Jenna Lusaka, was found dead in her family home on July 23.
Local police in Suva immediately identified Ms Downes' husband Henri Lusaka John as the main suspect.
According to local media reports, police have now charged Mr John with his wife's murder.
Police allege Ms Downes was murdered in a domestic violence incident after her and her husband became estranged.
The couple share three children, all under the age of five, but had recently separated.
Mr John, an Australian national originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was hospitalised after the incident in what police suspect was a murder-suicide attempt.
After receiving treatment at a hospital in Suva, Mr John was released to be questioned by police.
He is due to appear in Suva Magistrates Court tomorrow, charged with one count of murder.
Ms Downes worked as a World Food Program logistics expert with the United Nations.
Over the last decade, Ms Downes worked with some of the Pacific's most remote communities and spent five years working in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also used to work for Oxfam before moving to the United Nations.
In an interview with the World Food Programme in 2018, Ms Downes was described as having a "good-humoured nature".
"I've worked in humanitarian logistics in both Vanuatu and Australia, while also giving birth to my three beautiful children," she said.
"Being a mum to three kids under four has only enhanced my logistics capacities. I'm not only living and breathing it for eight hours a day at work; I'm the family logistician for the other 16 hours of the day! They're really proud of their mamma which makes it even more worthwhile."
An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said consular assistance was being provided to the family of an Australian woman.
"Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment," the spokesman said.
The World Food Programme also commented on Ms Downes' death saying the mum's colleagues were "deeply saddened at the news of her passing".