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Wed 23 Sep 2009 07:40 AM

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Dubai murder victim 'had feared for her safety'

Friends of real estate exec Andree Bejjani say she lodged complaints with New York hotel.

Dubai murder victim 'had feared for her safety'
MURDER SCENE: The Jumeirah Essex House hotel in New York.

Friends of a Dubai-based real estate executive murdered in New York said she had been worried about her safety in the weeks running up to her death, it has been reported.

Andree Bejjani, 44, better known as Sara, lodged complaints to the hotel and to Derrick Praileau, the head of housekeeping, after jewellery disappeared from her room, according to a report in the National.

Carlos Alvarez, who had known Bejjani for several years, told the paper: “It all makes sense now,” said Mr Alvarez. “She thought it was the maid that was taking her jewellery.”

Bejjani was found strangled with a bread knife in her neck in a 10th-floor condo at the Jumeirah Essex House in Manhattan, New York on Saturday.

Another friend Michael Feldman told the paper Bejjani had acted strangely the last time he saw her socially a few weeks ago.

“She asked for another one of my business cards so she could give it to the front desk and they could contact me if anything happened to her,” he told the paper.

“I just thought it was really odd. She said she was also going to give me her sister’s contact details but she never got around to it.”

Praileau, 29, was arrested on Sunday and charged with second degree murder, which he denied at his arraignment on Monday. A spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s office told the paper he is due to appear again in court on Thursday.

Bejjani, originally from Lebanon, travelled regularly between Dubai and New York and encouraged wealthy Gulf residents to invest in the US in her role as vice-president of property investment company Carlton Advisory Services.

She ran her own company, Royal Investments in Dubai before joining the US-based Carlton Advisory Services, a property investment firm, last year as vice president.

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