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Woman's UK suicide over Valentine's gift
19/02/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Comnplex character ... Mitchel Mandisi Mpofu
 
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A ZIMBABWEAN woman found dead in her home in England may have taken her own life after a Valentine’s Day row with her boyfriend, a coroner has ruled.

Mitchel Mandisi Mpofu, 23, is believed to have committed suicide in her room at a rented house in Guildford, London, on February 19, 2012.

She was having relationship trouble and had told her on-off boyfriend Arnold Mukuvare that she was “leaving” in a final text message.

After not hearing from her since Valentine’s Day on February 14, Mukuvare went to her flat and with the help of her housemates they broke through the door with a fire extinguisher to find her lifeless body.

Mukuvare dropped to his knees when he saw her body, the Woking Coroner’s Court heard.
 
She had been dead for five days, a post mortem revealed.
 
An A4 note explaining her decision to break up with him was found in bed, along with Valentine’s gifts she had purchased.
 
The consultant pathologist who carried out a post-mortem examination stated that she had suffocated.

Describing the discovery of Mpofu’s body, Diane Young, who managed the house in Cedar Way, said: “She was in bed and she looked very peaceful. What struck me was how peaceful the room looked and how flat the duvet was.

“I went to check a pulse but as soon as I touched her it was evident she was dead.”
 
Coroner Michael Burgess was adamant in his verdict that no-one else had been involved in her death.
 
“There was no way a third party could have left the premises while leaving it secured from the inside, as it was,” he said.

However, the coroner said the reasons for Mpofu’s suicide remained very unclear, but he believed distress may have been caused due to her expecting more from the relationship with Mukuvare than he did.

He added: “She was so very complex. I do believe that no single witness had a complete picture of her. Even her parents weren’t aware of everything that occurred.”

Evidence was heard about the often turbulent relationship between Mpofu and Mukuvare, who had been together in her room for the last time on the evening of Valentine’s Day.

Young said she had talked with her the previous day about the Valentine's gifts she had purchased for Mukuvare and that she had appeared happy.



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However, Mukuvare, a University of Surrey student, told the coroner he had not bought her a Valentine’s gift due to lack of money and that she often remarked he was unromantic due to their conversations being "too intellectual".

The couple had broken up a week earlier, the coroner heard, but continued to meet to discuss their relationship.

Mukuvare said that in a text message shortly before her death, she had said she was "leaving" and had refused to elaborate on what she meant when he asked her.

Repayment of a loan Mpofu took out to fund her masters degree in human resources was also said to be worrying her, as were persistent gastric problems.

Confusion was created by a 999 call made by Mpofu at 12.20AM on February 15, shortly after Mukuvare said he left, alleging that a domestic violence offence had occurred, the inquest heard.

She would not give police officers any further details when they arrived to check on her safety, and it is thought this was the last time anyone saw her alive.

Detective Constable Andrew Greaves of Surrey Police said CCTV footage showed Mpofu in Tesco alone on the evening of February 14.

Mpofu’s father, Athan Mpofu, admitted he was disappointed by the verdict, believing his daughter did not take her own life and stressing his concerns over the way police officers handled the investigation.

Speaking after the hearing, he said: “She was precious, very intelligent and had a very good job.
 
“Even if the conclusion had been different it wouldn’t have changed anything. My daughter is no longer here."
 


 
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