BUTTERWORTH: More details have emerged on the events leading up to the unfortunate death of 13-year-old M Vasanthapiriya, who attempted to commit suicide after leaving a note denying an accusation that she stole her teacher’s iPhone.
A canteen worker at SMK Methodist in Nibong Tebal said a female teacher had taken Vasanthapiriya to the canteen between 4.30pm and 5pm on Jan 17, hours before the girl was found hanging in her room.
“A female teacher brought Vasanthapiriya to the canteen. She ordered an iced Milo, and sat at the long table on the far end,” the worker, wishing to remain anonymous, told FMT.
The worker said Vasanthapiriya was not in her usual cheerful mood.
“She looked down, and appeared a bit fearful. I smiled at her, but she did not respond. So I just let her be,” the worker said, adding that the canteen was about to close after the recess time for the afternoon session.
The parents of the girl had previously claimed that she was confined for five hours without food or a bathroom break, after a female teacher accused the Form 2 student of stealing her iPhone.
In the police report, Vasanthapiriya’s parents claimed that the teacher and her husband had brought their daughter home, threatening to take her to the police if she did not admit to the alleged theft.
The teen ran up to her room, while her parents and the accuser left “to sort things out”. It was then that Vasanthapiriya attempted to take her life.
At 8.20pm, Vasanthapiriya’s father broke into her room after repeated calls went unanswered, and found her hanging by a shawl tied to an air-conditioning pipe, unconscious but alive.
The girl also left a suicide note written on a torn page of her school exercise book, denying she stole the iPhone.
She died on Feb 1 after slipping into a coma.
The small canteen at SMK Methodist is shared by both primary and secondary students.
According to the same worker, Vasanthapiriya spent about 30 minutes at the canteen, and left without finishing her drink.
“We are very used to seeing her at the canteen. She usually has a smile on her face. We are very shocked that this has happened to her.”
Angered by Vasanthapiriya’s death, many have questioned the manner in which she was investigated by the school teachers.
Meanwhile, FMT has learnt of another claim that the teacher believed Vasanthapiriya had passed the iPhone to her schoolmate, who also lives nearby Vasanthapiriya’s house in Kampung Tong Hai, Nibong Tebal.
A neighbour of the schoolmate said she saw the teacher and her husband arriving at about 6pm on the day of the incident.
She said the teacher then asked her if her neighbour was at home.
“I knew who the teacher was. She came to my house asking where was the girl from my neighbour’s house,” the woman, whose child also studies at the same school, told FMT.
“That girl is very close to Vasanthapiriya, I think they are good friends.”
FMT has contacted Penang police chief A Thaiveegan to verify the sequence of events claimed by those interviewed.