Zambia News

Lawyer charged with murdering son admitted attempting suicide

The Lusaka lawyer, who allegedly administered a poison that killed her two-year-old son, told her older sister that the boy drowned in a bathtub before she attempted suicide.

Yesterday, a judge heard that Namwene Phiri admitted to her sister Esther Phiri that she had chosen to take her own life after her son drowned because she thought she had nothing else to live for.

Information technology professional Esther, 41, related hearing from her sister that she tried to pray for her dying son in the hopes that he might awaken, but to no effect.

“She told me that the baby drowned in the bathtub and when she noticed that, she got the child and tried to resuscitate him.

“She tried to pray for him to come back to life but it didn’t happen. So, she decided to take doom which she had mixed with some domestos so she could end her life.

“She felt she had no purpose to continue living because the son she was living for was dead,” Esther testified in the case her sister is charged with murder which happened on February 15,2022.

The witness also spoke about the purported suicide note which police found at the crime scene, Namwene’s house.

“My sister told me that she had written the letter on the 14th[of February] and that she would do this when she was depressed.

“She would write things. She wrote the letter when she was feeling depressed but did not go through with it,” Esther said.

She also described Namwene’s upbringing as a traumatized youngster due to their aunty’s physical and mental abuse.

She was abused mentally, verbally, physically by my late aunty who was married to my later mother’s younger brother. Our parents died when we were very young. Our father died when the accused was a year old. Our mother died when my sister was three years old.

So, we were taken up by mother’s brother who was then chosen as administrator,” Esther said.

“When she[Namwene] was 12 years old, she ran away from home to live on the streets in 2003.

“I recall i was a student studying at Evelyn Hone College when my uncle came to inform me that my sister had run away from home. They had been looking for her but couldn’t find her,” she testified said before breaking down.

She also revealed to the court that Namwene attempted suicide by taking an overdose of panado around the end of 2004. Namwene had previously checked into the YWCA seeking protection from the physical abuse she was subjected to at home.


In addition, the court was informed that the defendant had


She continued by relating how Namwene eventually completed her education at the Chipembi Girls Boarding School and enrolled at the University of Zambia to study law.

But around this time, Esther became aware of her younger sister’s struggles with melancholy and rage.

She would suffer from depression and she was also seeking therapy and she was also a patient at Psych Health Zambia,” she said.

Esther also described Namwene, who was described by a psychiatrist as having a personality disorder before to trial, as being a devoted mother to her late son Ayden.

“She was a loving and caring mother and i was amazed how she took care of him single handedly. She was a very good mother to Ayden,” Esther said.

Namwene’s high-school and university mate Auxilia Lifalalo also testified and told the judge how her colleague had a temper.

“We went to UNZA together. We did have a few of our moments, arguments, her temper was quite on a different level. It was high,” Ms Lifalalo said.


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