London - The apparent suicide of a South African-born investment analyst in London this week has shocked his colleagues and family.

Nico Lambrechts, 46, an investment analyst with Investec Asset Management in the British capital, who studied at Stellenbosch University, died last Wednesday after falling 25m from an exclusive open-air restaurant.

The successful banker had taken a lift to Sir Terence Conran’s Coq d’Argent at lunchtime, and then fell through the atrium within the building.

He landed next to diners who were enjoying lunch at cafes and bars in a shopping complex at the bottom of the building in the city.

Medics reached him within minutes but were unable to save him. He was pronounced dead by a doctor at the scene minutes later.

Lambrechts is thought to have made the short walk to the restaurant from his office at Investec Asset Management in the Square Mile.

The Telegraph reported that coroner’s officer Paul Major told the City of London Coroner’s Court that family friend Bernard Abrahamsen had identified the body of Lambrechts, who lived with his wife and three children in the leafy Surrey stockbroker belt of Cobham.

The Daily Mail reported that neighbours said on Wednesday night that they were baffled as to why a devoted family man would want to commit suicide.

His wife Adele was too distressed to talk about her loss, but a neighbour said: “He was a really great guy.”

The banker’s death is the fourth to have occurred at the restaurant and the second in as many months.

Investec spokeswoman in Cape Town, Kotie Basson, confirmed Lambrecht’s death.

“Investec Asset Management regrets to confirm that Nico Lambrechts… died last week after a tragic incident,” Basson said. “News of Nico’s death has come as a great shock to all his colleagues. Our thoughts are with his family at this very difficult time, and our first concern is to provide them with the support they require throughout this period.”

She told the Cape Argus that Lambrechts had left SA at least 19 years ago and that he first worked for Merrill Lynch, before joining Investec.

He had studied at Stellenbosch University, but had grown up in Gauteng.

Cape Argus