A Sydney beautician who fell from an 11th floor Bondi apartment had lost her teenage sister who died after falling from a cruise ship, Daily Mail Australia can reveal.
Irish national Imelda O’Brien, 30, owner of an eyelash extensions shop in Bondi Junction, remains in hospital with serious injuries after falling from her balcony last month.
Her friend Lauren Smyth said a terrace on the sixth floor cushioned Ms O’Brien’s fall and saved her life, but she still suffered a broken leg, ribs and tailbone.
Details have now emerged of Mrs O’Brien’s tragic life, which began with the death of her sister 18 years ago, which in turn triggered the suicide of her heartbroken father, Paul, seven years later.
O’Brien’s older sister Lynsey was just 15 when she fell overboard from a cruise ship during a family vacation to Florida and the Caribbean in 2006.
The death devastated her family and tortured her father, who had kissed Lynsey goodnight and put her to bed minutes before her fall.
Receipts later revealed that cruise ship staff had served Lynsey at least 10 alcoholic drinks the night she died, despite being a minor.
Sydney beautician Imelda O’Brien, who fell from an 11th floor apartment, lost her teenage sister when she tragically fell from a cruise ship.
Details of Ms O’Brien’s tragic life have emerged after her sister Lynsey’s death triggered the suicide of her heartbroken father Paul (pictured with Lynsey) seven years later.
Describing the tragedy, Mr O’Brien said: “We took Lynsey to her room. Sandra, my wife, told her we would talk to her in the morning.
‘I kissed Lynsey goodnight and told her I loved her… but within minutes of leaving her room, my youngest daughter, Imelda, began frantically screaming that Lynsey had fallen overboard.
‘Lynsey fell overboard at approximately 2:00 am. About 15 minutes passed before the ship began to slow down. By this time, she had traveled a considerable distance from the original spot where Lynsey had fallen.
‘There was no effort on the part of the ship to lower any lifeboat to search for our baby, Lynsey.
‘There were media reports that helicopters and lifeboats were searching for Lynsey; but we never saw any evidence of this.
‘The only immediate rescue attempt was with lifebuoys, launched by a young man who had seen Lynsey fall into the ocean.
‘There are many unanswered questions, but my family and I will not rest until we seek justice for Lynsey!
‘Our family unit is broken…. ‘We are ALL devastated!’
Paul O’Brien launched a campaign against cruise ship safety regulations in the wake of the tragedy and published a book about it, ‘Lynsey’s Law: Coffin Cruise Ships and Obama’.
O’Brien launched a campaign on cruise ship safety standards in the wake of the tragedy and published a book about it, ‘Lynsey’s Law: Coffin Cruise Ships and Obama.’
He acknowledged that he never truly recovered from her death and endured a “living nightmare” until he took his own life in 2013.
Details of the family trauma were revealed in court in 2016 after O’Brien was caught in possession of 19 ecstasy pills and four packets of mephedrone.
The Dublin-born beautician was arrested on the Mediterranean island of Malta during a music festival.
But O’Brien tried to escape through a third-floor courtroom window when he was ordered to remain in a police cell for several weeks while awaiting trial.
The Malta Magistrates’ Court heard that only the quick actions of a judicial officer prevented the tragedy by catching her before she could fall three stories to the ground.
Ms O’Brien, originally from Tenure in Dublin, was sentenced to an eight-month suspended jail term and a €1,000 ($A1,650) fine. local media reported at the time.
On Tuesday, Smyth declined to comment further when contacted by Daily Mail Australia and O’Brien did not respond to a request for comment.
Smyth has previously said that while O’Brien received help from friends, he faced financial difficulties on the long road to recovery.
Imelda O’Brien (pictured) was saved by a sixth floor terrace when she broke her fall while diving from the 11th floor Bondi balcony, but still suffered a broken leg, ribs and tailbone.
Imelda O’Brien attempted to escape through a third-floor courtroom window in 2016 when she was ordered to remain in a Maltese police cell for weeks while awaiting trial on drug charges.
“His whole body is badly bruised and he is in a lot of physical and mental pain,” Mrs Smyth said.
‘As Imelda is self-employed, she does not receive any income: bills and rent still have to be paid.
“Also, Imelda is not allowed to leave the hospital because she has to have someone with her at all times to help take care of her.”
On Sunday, Mrs Smyth launched a GoFundMe campaign to bring his family to Australia from his native Ireland, which has raised almost $8,000.
“The aim… is to help her mother and her partner travel so we can get her home and get her the help she needs,” Ms Smyth said.
“(As well as) the cost of flights and a place to stay for her family while they arrange everything for her.”
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