Jan 14, 2008

Off the Daily Telegraph

Here's a story....

A city worker who was "obsessed with money" jumped to his death from a luxury 10th-floor apartment he was viewing, as an estate agent looked on in horror.

Police were called to Discovery Dock on Tuesday afternoon

Vincent Ma was looking around the £850,000 flat in London's Canary Wharf when he leapt onto a ledge and plunged 100ft from an open window.

The day before he died, the £150,000-a-year creative director had phoned an estate agent to arrange an appointment to view one of the flats at Discovery Dock, the highest residential block in the area.

It is understood the offices of the design consultancy he worked for looked out over the building. Police sources said when the sales agent took him around the property, Mr Ma seemed disinterested in the fixtures and fittings.

But moments later he suddenly threw himself out of the window, plummeting 10 floors in full view of guests at a nearby hotel. A suicide note addressed to his parents was found in his pocket by officers from Scotland Yard, who were called to the apartments at 3.30pm on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old was declared dead at the scene. Mr Ma's devastated family said he had disowned them four years ago, after becoming obsessed with money and the trappings of wealth.

His father Yiu Ma, 60, an undertaker from Warrington, Cheshire, said: "Vincent was once a happy boy who had time for everybody.

"He was an extremely intelligent young man and a talented artist - he would always be drawing. He gained a 2:1 degree from Reading University in Graphic Design and we were very proud.

"But after university he moved to London and became increasingly obsessed with money. He would talk about nothing else, how much he was earning in his job and what cars he could buy.

"The last time we saw him was Christmas in 2003. It was a normal family celebration and there was nothing to suggest that he was about to sever all contact with us.

"Since then he has kept the same number, but never answers his phone to us and wasn't speaking to friends.

"We've tried everything - even calling the police who said he no longer wanted to have contact with us."

Mr Ma's mother Kwai Chang Ma, 57, added: "He was a loving son before he moved to London, he always had time for the family. "But even when his cousins would e-mail to say they wanted to visit him he would write back and say 'who are you? I don't know you.'"

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A man desires to be in a certain place. He can see this place every day. It's not in his imagination, it is real... The sight taunts him. It says to him, 'I am everything you need to fulfill your identity.' If he could just be in that place, he thinks, if he could just have that address, that view... Finally, he visits this place, and ends his life. It appears he did not go to inquire about how he might live there. For some reason he knew or he guessed that he could not. It is simultaneously a moral tale about desire and yet also a homely urban myth about someone who draws no sympathy. But you wonder what happened in those last say 12 hours before he goes into that building. Has he envisioned this drama for months? Or is really on the spur of the moment, a flash of inspiration, even brilliance, about how to put an exclamation on an ordinary life.... But who did he imagine would be the audience for this act?

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