Forensics Show That The Woman Who Died At Priests House Died Of Heart Attack
A FORENSIC pathologist has told a public hearing that the cause of death of a 42-year-old woman who breathed her last at the residence of a Catholic priest two years ago was heart-failure.
During inquest into the death of Monica Mutale of Lusaka West, Dr Lunchenga Muchelenganga told Coroner Judy Chiyaika that the deceased suffered from high blood pressure and uterine fibroids.
Dr Muchelenganga said some time in April 2020, he received a directive from Chelston Police to conduct a postmortem on Mutale and her corpse was deposited at the UTH morgue.
He said after inquiring about the circumstances that led to the death, he procceded to conduct the postmortem as the deceased had no external injuries on her body.
“I did an internal examination on all the organs and the findings were that the deceased had a big uterus that was deformed by fibroids. Because I did not see anything unusual on all the organs I examined, I obtained samples from the heart, brain. kidneys, liver, lungs so that I could examine them further under a microscope,” Dr Muchelenganga explained.
“Further examination revealed that the deceased had suffered from hypertension based on the examination on the heart and a bacterial infection on the kidney (chronic nephritis). When I completed the postmortem, I collected blood samples and sent them for toxicological examination (to search for a common poison) and the food and drug laboratory sent back the results and their report indicated that there were no toxic substances in her blood.”
Dr Muchelenganga said because Mutale died in a home setup after taking tea and complaining of excessive sweating, he further examined the samples he collected and results revealed that the deceased suffered from high blood pressure and uterine fibroids.
“Examination of the blood for a toxic substance was negative from the Food and Drug Laboratory, so given these circumstances, postmortem findings and findings on ancillary studies, I came to the inference that the death occurred due to a sudden cardiac death, the origin of which I do not know,” Dr Muchelenganga said.
“There were no injuries on her body that may have contributed to her death and the results from toxicology are non-contributory to her death.”
In his testimony, Fr Ringford Mwelwa of Lusaka West, who is currently on suspension owing to the said incident, told the corona that he had a lunch date with Mutale who was part of the women’s league at St. Mauris parish.
He said Mutale did not have her car at the time as it was being repaired to which he called her at 16:00 on the material day (April 8, 2020) to find out if she was going to make it for their date but she informed him the car was still with her brother.
The cleric said he told Mutale that he would pick her up and he went to her house around 19:00 hours.
Fr Mwelwa narrated that on their way to his residence in Kaunda Square, Mutale proposed that she would only have some tea and when they got home 30 minutes later, he prepared her some tea which she consumed with Marie biscuits.
“During our conversation, she joked that she was feeling hot. She requested that the windows be opened. She asked for water and I got some from the fridge which she poured on her body,” said the clergyman.
“I told my assistant in the next room that our visitor was not feeling well and he helped me take her to Levy Mwanawasa General Hospital. The doctors checked on her and later told me that they could not conduct a cardiopulmonary resuscitation due to the water in her lungs.”
During cross-examination, prosecutor Manda asked Fr Mwelwa about his intent to invite a female member for dinner to which he explained that priests were not barred from inviting a member to have dinner at their house and that visitors can outstay their welcome.
“It’s not prohibited to invite a member to have dinner at the priest’s house or a visitor who stays for weeks or a month. It is not prohibited for a priest to have any visitor at their residence, gender is not a factor women are allowed to visit and there is no visitation period,” said the cleric.
And detective inspector Barbara Chiyanga stationed at Chelstone Police Station under the criminal investigations department confirmed Fr Mwelwa’s testimony.
Corona Chiyaika has set February 28, 2022 for verdict.