TRUE OR NONSENSE?- Magistrate Rules Murdered Livingstone Committed Suicide
9 June 2023
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The ‘slain schoolboy’ Livingstone Sunhwa committed suicide, according to a Mutasa magistrate who ruled out any foul play in the case.

Livingstone Suhwa

When he vanished from St Mathias High School in Mutasa District on December 16, 2021, Livingstone was a Form Four student there.

Six months later, his remains were located. Due to this, and in light of his sister’s statement to the police, an inquest into his death was mandated at Mutasa Magistrates’ Court by the Prosecutor-General’s Office.

Livingstone’s sister, who was a student at St. Mathias High School, asserted that she witnessed her brother being beaten by police just before he vanished.

The presiding magistrate, Mr. Artwell Sanyatwe, stated in his decision that the evidence available showed suicide by hanging, as described by the police.

“There is no doubt that Livingstone exhibited signs of truancy, which in my view contributed to his demise in this instance. He either could not stand the embarrassing conduct of being arrested at the school in full view of his peers or feared the worst, hence his decision to take his own life,” he stated.

Mr Sanyatwe added: “Detectives who dealt with the matter both testified on the findings at the scene of the recovered human remains which they said were found about a kilometre from St Mathias Tsonzo High School in a secluded and bushy area.

“A piece of cloth was found hanging from a tree, which matched a broken piece of cloth found among human remains or bones. Tests were conducted to establish whether these were Livingstone’s . Their evidence was corroborated by expert tests and analysis, although the cause of death could not be ascertained.

“With that in mind, the only logical conclusion that may be drawn is that the cause of death was due to suicide by hanging.

“The chain of events taken cumulatively from the time of the deceased’s arrest, being taken to the police station, then back to the school and leaving the dormitory on the following morning supports that conclusion or the findings above,” he said.

Mr Sanyatwe said it was important to address Livingstone’s behaviour.

“Most of the witnesses who testified before me appeared to turn a blind eye to Livingstone’s behaviour and character. Evidence which emerged from this inquiry suggests that the deceased lacked parental care.

“He was previously expelled from his former boarding school before being enrolled at St Mathias Tsonzo High School. He was expelled from that school having stolen some food from the school’s dining room.

“He also went missing from that school, only to be found after two days loitering outside the school premises. This was exactly his same conduct at St Matthias Tsonzo High School. There is no doubt that he exhibited signs of truancy, which in my view contributed to his demise,” he said.

Mr Sanyatwe said his assessment of Livingstone’s sister’s statements in court and to the police suggests that there were two versions of the same story.

“The statement to the police alludes to the use of a police button stick in beating Livingstone several times on the back. It also suggests this happened in her full view and in the staffroom.

“On the other hand, her testimony in court suggests otherwise, that she did not perceive or witness them going to the dormitory and could see her brother, Livingstone, being beaten and thereafter could not see him until after night studies when she saw him talking to the school headmaster,” he said.

Mr Sanyatwe said he had a torrid time in directing litigants on the objective or purpose of the inquest as most thought that the purpose was to find the killer.

“The minor sister’s statement was critical as it appears to point to foul play, hence its analysis and assessment was paramount in the determination of this matter.

“The rationale being that all other witnesses’ statements did not point directly to suspected foul play as they were either not present at the school upon the deceased’s arrest, or did not perceive anything which suggest foul play,” he said. – state media