Inmate escapes from mental hospital . . . commits suicide

by Shingirai Huni | Sunday, Jan 4, 2015 | 3523 views

Mbongeni Msimanga Sunday News Correspondent
A PSYCHIATRIC inmate at Ingutsheni Central Hospital on Wednesday committed suicide at his ex-girlfriend’s house in Bulawayo’s Kingsdale suburb after having escaped from the institution. The now deceased, Velaphi Sibanda (41) is alleged to have escaped from the psychiatric centre on Tuesday evening and proceeded to his ex-girlfriend, Ms Pinky Downs’s place of residence.
Ms Downs said she was still to come to terms with the incident.

She said they only got to hear about Sibanda’s death when she was called by the police to come to her house in Kingsdale as she was visiting a relative in Matsheumhlope during the festive season.

“I am still to come to terms with the incident and I cannot say anything at the moment other than express my shock about everything. We had gone away for the holidays in Matsheumhlope only to be contacted by the police that there was a body hanging in my backyard,” she said.

Residents and relatives were stunned as to why Sibanda headed straight to her residence and committed suicide there as the two had parted ways early last year.

According to sources who declined to be named, they said Sibanda had been admitted to the psychiatric hospital since August last year and shown symptoms of mental illness especially after he had drank alcohol.

The sources alleged that the now deceased was in the habit of calling out Ms Downs’s name and his current wife’s name in the evening and the nurses would give him a medical dosage to calm him down.

“All we know is that he has been in the hospital since last year and he escaped on Tuesday only to commit suicide at Ms Downs’s place on Wednesday. He was in the habit of calling out her name when he was in hospital and his current wife’s name, saying he missed them. His mental illness only started showing last year when he would drink alcohol,” said the source.

“We heard that he had a strenuous relationship with his ex-girlfriend before he was admitted to the hospital. We are also shocked to the reason why he had to commit suicide at his girlfriend’s place.”

Sibanda’s twin brother who identified himself as Zwelaphi, said they were still to come to terms with the incident..
“I just arrived from South Africa and I just found out about the incident. All I know is he had not been well for some time and he committed suicide at his ex-girlfriend’s place,” he said.

Efforts to get a comment from the police were fruitless as their mobile phones went unanswered.
Sibanda will be buried tomorrow.

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