'British soldier committed suicide'

BULAWAYO - A coroner at an inquest into the death of the British soldier who was found hanging at his rented Bulawayo home concluded that Robert Wood committed suicide.

This is despite suspicions by his brother that he was murdered by his Zimbabwean customary wife Henrietta Dube.

In March 2012, Wood, 55, was found dead in a spare bedroom at his home.

His neck was tied with a brown leather belt to the burglar bar while his left leg was suspended in the air. His right leg was resting on the stretcher bed. Blood was also noticed on his reproductive organ.

Passing verdict, Bulawayo magistrate Elias Magate said the only evidence available to the court to determine how the deceased person met his death was the independent opinion of expert Dr Singanayi Pesanayi.

Pesanayi had previously told the court that the postmortem he conducted indicated Wood’s death was as a result of asphyxia due to lack of oxygen in his body because of hanging.

He concluded that his death was a case of suicide.

Magate told the court that there was no evidence to support Ian Wood’s assertion that his brother was killed by his wife.

“What Ian said were bald assertions emanating from hearsay evidence which he heard from some people who were not even called as witnesses in this inquest hearing,” he said.

Ian had previously said that he suspected that his brother was killed by Dube so that she could take over his mine.

He based his assertion on an alleged forged will by Dube bequeathing her total control of the mine.

The original copy of the will, however, could not be found by the state.

Dube’s mother Tholiwe Clarke previously testified in court that police had taken Wood’s original documents.

Magate concluded there was no evidence linking Henrietta or any other person to the death and it was the court’s view that Wood’s death was due to suicide.

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