x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Girl, 4, in family tragedy suffocated

Father who hanged himself in flat left note explaining he 'had financial problems', say police.

The building in Bur Dubai where a four-year-old girl was found dead together with her father.
The building in Bur Dubai where a four-year-old girl was found dead together with her father.

DUBAI // The four-year-old girl found dead with her father in their flat in Dubai on Saturday was suffocated with a pillow, a postmortem examination has revealed.

Forensic tests indicated that the father, Rijesh Nambiar, hanged himself shortly after the child, Avantika, was killed, said Brig Khalil Al Mansouri, head of Dubai CID.

Avantika's mother, Sreesha, survived the incident and was taken to Rashid Hospital in Dubai, where she is receiving treatment for cuts to her wrists.

Rijesh left one suicide note to his family bidding farewell and telling them he would go to another life, and a second to Dubai police explaining why he was taking his own life.

"He said he was suffering some financial problems and that he had some problems with his former sponsor, who is also Indian," said Brig Al Mansouri.

Staff at the Kindergarten Starters school in Garhoud remembered Avantika as a cheerful and brilliant little girl.

"It was with great sadness that we received the tragic news," said Asha Alexander, the headmistress.

"She was a brilliant little girl," according to her teacher, Zara Haider, "and often helped others at her table to do their work."

Ms Alexander added: "She would frequently be given stars for her excellent work, which she would show her 'papa'. She will be missed by all her friends, teachers and the management at KGS."

At an after-school care centre Avantika attended as recently as Thursday, when she was picked up by her father, an employee described her as "very active and helpful".

"We are shocked over the death. She was a lovely girl," said the employee, with tears in her eyes.

A close family member who visited Sreesha at Rashid Hospital's surgical ward yesterday said she did not show any recollection of Saturday's tragedy.

"I don't think she knows what has happened," said the relative.

"When I asked her if she knew about the incident, she didn't respond. She smiled at me when I went to meet her. She even asked why I wasn't in the office. I told her I had taken time off to meet her at the hospital. She kept smiling at me the whole time."

He said Sreesha could be sent for psychiatric treatment when she recovers from her injuries.

The relative last met the family a day before the deaths. He said they were looking for another house to rent in Bur Dubai because their existing lease expired in March.

A family friend said arrangements were being made to repatriate the bodies of Rijesh and Avantika to India.

The Indian Embassy, which operates a free helpline for expatriates facing problems, said it had not received any calls from the family seeking help.

The Indian Workers Resource Centre was set up in November 2010 by the Indian president, Pratibha Patil, to help Indians with marital, psychological or financial issues.

Yesterday, the Indian ambassador said the mother could be provided consular assistance.

"We will extend legal assistance," said MK Lokesh, but "we cannot interfere with the local process. A crime has been committed."