‘Teen accused of stealing teacher’s phone now brain dead’

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M Vasanthapiriya, 13, Form Two student from SMK Methodist, Nibong Tebal, Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: A Form Two student who hanged herself after being reportedly accused of stealing her teacher’s mobile phone last week is brain dead and on life support, an activist said today.

Malaysian Tamilar Kular president David Marshel Pakianathan said M Vasanthapiriya, 13, had suffered organ failure and was undergoing intensive-care treatment at the Seberang Jaya Hospital.

“We are praying for a miracle for her to survive and tell us what she has gone through,” David, a Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) councillor who is assisting Vasanthapiriya’s family, told FMT.

It is understood that police and the education department are investigating the matter.

Based on a police report lodged by a relative at the Prai police station, Vasanthapiriya, a student of SMK Methodist in Nibong Tebal, was called in for questioning by three teachers at 2pm last Wednesday.

One of them, a woman in her 40s, accused her of stealing her iPhone 6, the report said.

After the teen denied stealing the handphone, another teacher allegedly hit her on the back in full view of other students.

She was then allegedly confined to a room in the teachers’ office quarters for nearly five hours, without any food or toilet break.

At 6.45pm, the husband of the teacher who lost her handphone arrived at the school. The couple threatened to take her to the police if she did not admit to the alleged theft, the report said.

They then drove Vasanthapiriya to her house nearby to meet her parents. The teen ran up to her room, while her parents and the accuser left home “to sort things out,” the report said.

It was then that Vasanthapiriya attempted to take her life. Upon returning home at 8.20pm, her father broke into her room after repeated calls went unanswered.

She was found unconscious but alive, hanging on her ‘dupatta’ (shawl) off an air-conditioning piping, with her legs in contact with the floor.

Her shocked parents also discovered a suicide note written on a torn page of her school exercise book.

“Teacher (name withheld) I did not take your phone,” Vasanthapiriya wrote in romanised Tamil, along with goodbyes to her parents and grandmother.

Her parents rushed her to the Sungai Bakap Hospital for treatment, and she was later transferred to the Seberang Jaya Hospital.

‘Teen collected RM70 for teacher’s birthday’

Meanwhile, a close friend of Vasanthapiriya claimed that the accuser may have suspected her after seeing a CCTV recording of someone like her with long hair at the teachers’ office.

The friend said the teacher became doubly suspicious when the teen went to the office to place workbooks on her table.

“She had collected workbooks from us and she volunteered to put them on that teacher’s table. So, I think that is why the teacher suspected her.

“But it is funny because the teacher appeared to have her iPhone again after the whole thing. We are not sure if she had gotten her phone back or had bought a new one,” a friend who wished to remain anonymous told FMT.

The friend also said just two days before the incident Vasanthapiriya had collected RM70 from her friends to hold a birthday party for the accuser.

“Her father is a good cook. So she gave the money to her father to cook some dishes and brought it to school for a small ‘makan’ (meal) and birthday at the school.,” the friend said.

FMT has contacted Penang police chief Commissioner A Thaiveegan for comment and is awaiting his response.