Jennifer Ann Downes has been found dead in Fiji. Picture: Supplied
Jennifer Ann Downes has been found dead in Fiji. Picture: Supplied

Australian mum-of-three murdered in Fiji

AN Australian woman has been found dead in Fiji with police treating the case as an alleged murder.

Mother-of-three Jennifer Ann Downes, also known as Jenna Lusaka, was working as a logistics officer for the United Nations World Food Programme in Suva before she died on July 23.

Fijian media report her husband Henry Lusaka John is in hospital, his condition is not known.

Mr John is originally from Congo but is also an Australian citizen.

A police spokeswoman told the Fiji Sun they were treating the case an alleged murder.

Police sources told the publication Mr John's workmates found Downes' body as well as her husband in a serious condition.

They notified police who cordoned off the couple's home.

The United Nations confirmed Downes death.

"The World Food Programme is saddened by the sudden passing of our dear colleague, Jennifer Ann Downes (known in WFP as Jenna Lusaka), who died on 23 July in Fiji," an official statement from the WFP read.

Henry Lusaka John is believed to be in Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Picture: Supplied.
Henry Lusaka John is believed to be in Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva. Picture: Supplied.

The Australian national had worked for the WFP in the Pacific since 2017.

Her work bio said she left a role in logistics with the 2000 Sydney Olympics to pursue humanitarian work.

Downes wrote that she loved her job, saying "You have to live and breathe it. You have to believe in it." She was also proud to be a woman working in logistics.

"When I first started my logistics career women were few and far between but in the Pacific I've found there are some strong female logisticians in leadership positions which is really inspiring."

For the last decade she has worked in roles in the DR Congo, Australia and Vanuatu as well as Fiji.

"Since joining WFP, Jenna and her team had worked tirelessly to bring logistics tools and knowledge to the communities in the Pacific Islands, helping them prepare for and respond to natural disasters," the WFP said.

"For Jenna, logistics was more than just a job. It was a passion that she pursued with unmatched dedication and professionalism. She will be forever missed by our WFP family.

"Our thoughts are with Jenna's children and loved ones during this difficult time."

An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman said consular assistance was being provided to the family of the Australian woman.

"Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment," he said.