Abhorrent online abuse of backpacker killed in Sydney cliff fall, says mother

Online trolls targeting a British backpacker who died falling from a cliff edge while taking a selfie of herself in Australia have been branded as "heartless" by her mother.

Madalyn Davis, 21, fell to her death from the Diamond Bay cliff tops in Sydney's eastern suburbs – a selfie spot popular with tourists.

In a statement on her Instagram story, Rebecca Smith said their family had been subject to "abhorrent comments and vile opinions" posted on her daughter's social media profiles.

She warned any further comments may lead to legal action from the family, who have said they plan to lobby the Government and social media companies following alleged online abuse of the 21-year-old.

Ms Davis, a make-up artist from Lincoln, "had the opportunity to live her dream" while she was travelling, according to her mother.

Paying tribute to her "beautiful girl", Ms Smith wrote: "She was an inspiration to many including us as her parents. Her accidental passing has been so sudden and has rocked us to our core.

"There will forever be a hole in our lives that will never be filled, a hole our family can barely face comprehending.

"Can we please ask at this most difficult time and in our deepest grief that all speculation and character assassinations cease, if not for us as her mum and dad then for Madalyn's little brother and sister who are hardly able to process this awful loss."

The statement on Instagram continued: "Being able to read messages of support has given us so much strength, and we want to thank you for these kind words.

"Sadly, we have also had to read some abhorrent comments and vile opinions on Madalyn's Instagram profile.

"We cannot comprehend how at such a traumatic time, a select few can be so heartless and target the most vulnerable suffering such acute emotional pain."

A GoFundMe page set up by Ms Davis' family says that they hope to call on the Government and social media giants to take action in dealing with online trolls.

Ms Smith said it would be the family's final statement on her daughter's death and that "any continuance of negative or hateful comments regarding Madalyn on social media channels may face legal action".

She added: "We cannot continue to endure this relentless persecution."

The 21-year-old had been travelling around Thailand and Bail before arriving in Australia.

New South Wales Marine Rescue said it began searching for Ms Davis at 6.30am after receiving reports that a group of people were taking photos "inside the fence" at the cliffs, but could not find her.

A body was retrieved from the water about four hours later.

Waverley Council, the local authority for the area, commissioned an "urgent report regarding visitor safety at Diamond Bay Reserve" following the incident.

The Foreign Office said staff at the British Consulate in Sydney are in contact with local authorities at Diamond Bay following the incident.