RUNDU – Court officials at the Rundu Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday were shocked by the suicide inside a court holding cell where a 31-year-old woman took her life shortly after receiving a fine of N$3 000 or alternatively six months in prison after she had abandoned her newborn at hospital.
New Era was informed the deceased was a mother who of late had been suicidal and on Monday was discharged from hospital where she had recuperated from an overdose of ARVs in a botched suicide attempt.
“Family members must be vigilant with suicidal family members. They must report this behaviour to us so that we can refer them to social workers for help. We have institutions that can assist these people to prevent them from committing suicide,” said Deputy Commissioner Bonifatius Kanyetu, who confirmed the suicide in the court holding cell.
“Normally it’s family that should alert us; the Mental Health Act does not only apply when a person commits an offence, even abnormal behaviour can be reported so that we can get them help,” Kanyetu said, adding:
“Because it is a mental issue that gives them that drive to commit suicide. Some say, no the person drinks too much but something compels that person to go and drink heavily.”
The deceased has been identified as Loise Fransisca Kasova from the low-income Ndama informal settlement who went to court from home to attend her trial and was found guilty on a charge of child abandonment.
She faced the prospect of prison as she was unable to pay the fine.
The case against her was opened some time ago after she gave birth in the Rundu hospital maternity ward and abandoned her newborn in the hospital but was later apprehended and charged. According to court sources, the deceased was alone in the court holding cell where she hung herself with a scarf without leaving a suicide note. Her body was taken to the Rundu intermediate hospital mortuary for a post-mortem.
A few hours after her suicide, a 31-year-old man from Mbambi village in Kavango East also committed suicide that same Tuesday but in the evening at around 21h00. Police said the deceased hanged himself but with a wire around his neck.
“The deceased was identified as Singara Paulus, a Namibian male, aged 31, who was a resident of Mbambi village,” Deputy Commissioner Kanyetu said.