They thought she attempted suicide. But now she’s woken up after months in a coma saying it could be murder

ROME – An attempted murder investigation has been launched in northern after a woman thought to have tried suicide by jumping to her death off a cruise ship awoke from a long coma and said she had not tried to kill herself.

The 53-year-old woman, who works at a bank in the northern Italian city of Turin, told police she had argued with her partner in their cabin on the Costa cruise ship docked in the Norwegian port of Flam shortly before falling off the boat on July 19, the Turin daily La Stampa reported.

She told the paper she could not remember how she managed to fall from her balcony cabin into the icy waters of the Norwegian fjord.

“I don’t remember if he pushed me, but I certainly didn’t want to commit suicide,” Laura Stuardo told the Turin daily newspaper.

“It was an extremely long drop,” she said. “I screamed, then there was the impact with the water. I don’t remember anything else.”

Stuardo’s 55-year-old partner, Giovanni Pia, a salesman, told Norwegian police he tried to stop Stuardo from leaping to her death off the balcony, but had been unsuccessful.

Stuardo underwent several operations in  before being flown back to Turin in a coma. She suffered head, lung, stomach and spleen damage from the huge fall into the chilly water and faces several months of arduous rehabilitation.

After she awoke from the coma, the paper reported, Stuardo made her remarks. Police then opened an attempted murder investigation. Pia has not been officially named as a suspect, however.

Stuardo, a divorcee, moved her and her teenage daughter in with Pia recently in Turin. But she told police that he had abused her, the paper reported.

“One night he came home drunk after being involved in an accident,” the paper quoted her as saying. “I’m kicking you out now, he started to shout, you and your daughter. You two are tramps. He then grabbed me by the hair and dragged me out of the house.”

The couple booked the Norwegian cruise vacation to try to patch things up, the paper reported.

La Stampa reported that Stuardo is refusing visits from Pia in her Turin hospital.

She has been regularly visited by her former husband, however, with whom she spent 25 years, the paper reported.

“I have given orders to police and doctors to stop any contact with Mr. Pia,” her ex-husband was quoted by the paper as saying. “In Oslo, I never lost sight for a minute, especially at night, of the mother of my daughter.”

About Daniela Deane, Washington Post