The family of a woman who died after falling from a gallery within St Paulís Cathedral , have issued a tribute in her memory.
Lidia Dragescu, 23, from Romford, Essex, died as a result of the incident which took at 10.30am on Wednesday, 11 October 2017.
Visitors gasped in horror as the woman hit the marble floor at the London landmark last week.
The circumstances surrounding the woman’s death are not yet known but it is believed she deliberately climbed over shoulder-high safety barriers before falling. City of London Police said they are not treating her death as suspicious.
One visitor to the cathedral, Reidan Fredstrom, 38, described the scene as emergency services arrived.
He said: ‘I got to the entrance at around 10:30 or so, and one of the people who check bags was very upset and crying.
‘Several police officers went running in, and about 10 minutes later, a man who works at St Paul’s told another tourist near me that someone had been badly injured and they were not letting people in while they handled the situation.
This picture, taken in 2014, shows the drop from the Whispering Gallery at St Paul’s
Emergency services were called to the London tourist attraction after the woman plunged 98ft to her death
The Whispering Gallery (pictured is the view from the gallery) is the first of the three-dome structure inside the historic building
A woman has died after falling from the Whispering Gallery at St Paul’s Cathedral
‘He assured us that there was no safety concern, they just didn’t want people walking by this person.’
The 300-year-old cathedral was closed for the afternoon following the tragedy, with an evening service cancelled.
The cathedral, including the Whispering Gallery, had re-opened at 7.30am today and a reporter at the scene noted staff comforting each other inside.
The Whispering Gallery is the first of the three-dome structure inside the historic building. The height of the gallery is equivalent to seven London buses.
A source told The Sun newspaper: ‘The balcony is fenced off to stop anything like this happening accidentally.’
A statement by St Paul’s Cathedral said staff rushed to help the woman immediately.
It read: ‘The Cathedral is deeply saddened at the death of a visitor.
‘The woman fell from the Whispering Gallery to the Cathedral floor. The incident is being treated as non-suspicious by police.
What is the Whispering Gallery?
The cathedral’s Whispering Gallery is 259 steps up inside the dome.
It gets its name from a charming quirk in its construction which makes whispers against its walls audible on the opposite side.
The dome itself, which is built in the shape of a cross, is one of the largest in the world.
It is 111.3 metres high – or about 365 feet – and weighs about 65,000 tonnes.
Beneath the dome is the principal worship space in the cathedral.
Above the Whispering Gallery are two more galleries – the Stone Gallery (173ft) and the Golden Gallery (280ft).
It is almost 127 years to the day since a man shot himself during a Sunday service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Edward Easton shot himself in the head in the ‘consecrated edifice’ of the cathedral during a service in September 1890.
An inquest found a verdict of suicide ‘while temporarily insane’.
‘First aid trained staff were immediately at the scene and police and paramedics arrived within minutes.
‘Although robust procedures for emergency situations are in place at St Paul’s and the response bore that out, it does not lessen the shock we feel as a close community, especially for those of us who witnessed and responded to this incident.
‘We hold also in our thoughts those visitors within the Cathedral at the time.
‘We think and pray especially at this time for the woman who died, and for all those who were close to her and who loved and cared for her.’
A spokesman for the City of London Coroner’s court said an inquest is expected to be opened ‘fairly soon’.
He added: ‘It’s in the jurisdiction of City of London coroners.
‘At this stage it’s still being decided whether it needs to be a police investigation so we can’t release details at this stage.
‘We will be opening an inquest fairly soon and the name and everything will come up on that.’
Last night four security guards stood outside in fluorescent jackets across the steps, stopping tourists from entering the Christopher Wren masterpiece.
Bells still rang out across the area, as tourists continue to take pictures and selfies outside, as schoolchildren ran around the steps leading up to the famous landmark.
A sign has been taped across a map near the entrance which states the Annual Service for Seafarers has been cancelled and the cathedral will reopen for morning prayer at 7.10am tomorrow morning.
A cafe worker said tourists streamed out of the attraction as it was being evacuated after the incident.
The height of the Whispering Gallery is equivalent to seven London buses
The Whispering Gallery is the first of the three-dome structure inside the historic building
He said: ‘I arrived at about 12noon and there were lots of people outside and a lot of police cars and an ambulance.
‘People had been cleared out of the cathedral because of what happened.
‘We had no idea what was going in until a regular customer came in and told us. It’s so sad.’
A restaurant worker said he saw police cars and ambulances parked outside the cathedral when he arrived for his shift at 11am.
He said: ‘I saw lots of police cars and ambulances outside.
‘I’m not sure how many but it was enough for me to think there must have been something serious going on.
‘I was shocked when I found out someone fell.’
A statement by St Paul’s Cathedral said staff rushed to help the woman immediately
Beverley Saunders had come from Wolverhampton to the cathedral for the seafarers service.
The 62-year-old said: ‘We came down today, we just got here, we have no idea what happened.
‘It’s sad it’s been cancelled, but obviously it’s understandable.’
A local shop worker said: ‘I wasn’t working at the time but security came in later and said a women fell.
‘It’s crazy, it must have been awful for whoever was in there at the time.’