Grade 7 pupil found hanging

Abigail Mawonde Herald Reporter
A grade seven pupil at Waddilove Primary School in Marondera was found hanging in a storeroom a fortnight ago in a suspected suicide case.Astirex Chombe Phiri (12) has since been buried.

His parents suspect foul play.

The incident occurred when other pupils had gone for evening studies.

The boy’s father, Mr Nhamo Phiri, confirmed the incident but said circumstances surrounding his son’s death needed to be investigated.

Mr Phiri said Waddilove Primary School headmaster, Mr Isaac Jari, informed him about the death over the phone but when he arrived at the school, they had already untied the body.

“When the headmaster phoned me, it took me approximately one hour to get to the school from Harare and upon arrival I realised they had taken him down already from the roof trusses and instead of a mattress rope which they said he had used to hang himself, I discovered he had a loose bed sheet tied around his neck,” he said.

Mr Phiri said the school authorities barred him from talking to pupils at the school to establish what could have happened.

He said sources at the school told him that Astirex was seen crying in the afternoon but he did not tell anyone what was troubling him.

Mr Phiri is also unhappy that police refused to give him postmortem results.

“I was only shown the results indicating that he died from asphyxia but they could not give me a copy of the results,” he said.

Asphyxia results from an extreme decrease in the concentration of oxygen in the body.

The headmaster confirmed the case yesterday.

“I can confirm that one of our Grade Seven pupils, Astirex Phiri, committed suicide a fortnight ago. Unfortunately I cannot give an account of what happened since I was not at school when the incident occurred. What I can say is that up to now, the case is being handled by the police and they have not come back to furnish us with details of their findings.

“We will only be able to know the cause of the death after police are through with their investigations,” Mr Jari said.

Police could not be reached for comment.