Medic says caning did not cause girl's death
By Nation Correspondent, The Daily Nation, January 26, 2001
The caning of a 10-year old schoolgirl by a teacher in Tetu Division of Nyeri District was not the cause of her death, a medical expert said yesterday.

Central Provincial pathologist, Dr Moses Njue, said: "In my opinion, based on the post-mortem examination I carried out, the death was purely as a result of an asthmatic attack."

He told The Nation in a telephone interview that the girl had only received three strokes of the cane on her right hand "which did not produce any injuries".

"Pain and fright can, however, precipitate an asthmatic attack and I'm still conducting further tests on the lungs," he said.

He dispelled previous reports that the pupil died after heavy and persistent caning from a teacher in her school in Muhoya location.

The pathologist granted an interview after conducting a post-mortem and holding a lengthy meeting with the child's parents and the affected teacher in his office yesterday.

The pupil died on Tuesday, moments after she was disciplined for spotting the wrong wear. She was sent home, just several yards from the school, to don proper school uniform.

Dr Njue said the teacher did not know that the 10-year old was on medication for asthma. "It appears that no one in the school seemed to know that the pupil was asthmatic and that could have resulted in the tragedy... It is just a very unfortunate pattern of events."

Contacted, Nyeri police said they were still perusing the post-mortem reports before commenting on the matter.

Learning at the school was still paralysed as teachers and students sought to come to grips with the matter.

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