THE mother to a Kabulonga Boys Secondary School pupil who died after allegedly being beaten by violent students from Twin Palm Secondary School has testified that she had hope that her son would recover and get to write the exams he had been studying for.

Sharon Syambizi of Lusaka’s Barlastone area testified before Lusaka High Court Judge Sharon Newa that when she saw the condition her child was in at the hospital, she became emotional and confused that her son, who was well in the morning of that fateful day, was in that state.

She further told the Court that before her son died, he told her that he was beaten by a mob of pupils from Twin Palm Secondary School, who used golf sticks.

This is a matter where four former pupils of Twin Palm Secondary School, aged between 16 and 19, are charged with one count of murder, but pleaded not guilty.

Three of the accused persons are juveniles while one, Elvis Nsokolo, is a 19-year-old.

It is alleged that the four on December 4, 2020 in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting together, killed Ryan Phiri, who was a grade 12 pupil at Kabulonga Boys Secondary School.

When the matter came up for continued trial before Judge Newa, Thursday, Syambizi, who is in the business of selling second-hand clothes, testified that on the material day around 10:00 hours, she was going to town to sell her merchandise when she received a call from her husband.

She said her husband asked her where she was, before telling her that their son was in the hospital after being beaten.

“I told him that I had just dropped off the bus going into town. He told me that someone had called him, informing him that Ryan had been beaten and was taken to UTH, but he was unconscious. He told me to meet him so that we go to UTH,” Syambizi said.

She said once at the hospital, they found two men who informed her that they were the ones who had taken Ryan to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).

Syambizi said that when she entered the room where Ryan was, she called out his name but he never responded, making her become emotional after seeing the condition he was in.

“I became emotional that’s when I went outside. I got confused that I was with my child in the morning. He was okay and I even made some tea for him. We had also made plans that when he knocks off from school, he should meet me in town so that we buy shoes for him because we had a wedding on Sunday,” she narrated.

Syambizi said that she then went outside to meet the men who had taken Ryan to the hospital to find out what had happened.

She said one of the men told her that he was in Malata area when he heard someone screaming as if he was being beaten.

“He told me that he went there, got the boy and went to hide him behind the house. He told me that the boys who were beating him up didn’t look normal. They were looking like they were under the influence of something. I gave those men transport money and also gave the young man who rescued my son K50 to thank him for what he did,” Syambizi said.

She said that she later went back inside the hospital as Ryan had gained consciousness.

Syambizi said she asked him what happened and he explained to her that he had been beaten by a mob of pupils from Twin Palm Secondary School, who were using golf sticks but he recognised the head boy from the said school by the name of Elvis.

“He asked if he had legs, and I told him that he had legs and that he would get well. He told me, ‘Amen, mummy.’ I wanted to go outside because I became emotional. But he asked me to sit where he was. I sat down and started capturing him as part of my evidence for those people who had beaten him to see. When I was getting those photos I had hope that my son would get well and the exams, which he was studying for, he will write,” she told the Court.

But Syambizi then disclosed that her son later passed away.

In cross-examination, Syambizi was asked whether the two men who had taken her child to the hospital gave her names or a description of the pupils that allegedly beat him, but she said no.

Further asked whether the two men mentioned to her that her son was beaten with golf sticks, the witness said no.

Earlier on, Ryan’s father, Frank Phiri, testified that on that fateful day, he received a phone call from a good samaritan who asked him whether he was Ryan’s father.

He said when he confirmed that he was the man informed him that his son had been badly beaten.

Phiri said he then told the good samaritan to take Ryan to UTH and that he would find them there.

He said he then called his wife to let her know that their son was badly beaten and that they later proceeded to UTH.

Phiri said he found his son sleeping surrounded by medical staff and that he looked very tired.

He said he observed blood from the upper ear of his son and that it was very thick.

“I couldn’t hold myself and went outside. I told my wife to go see herself. Whilst outside I started asking the man who called me on what exactly happened to my son. He said he saw a group of boys beating my son and he decided to intervene,” he said.

Phiri said when he went back inside the hospital, he found that Ryan had opened his eyes and he told him that he was beaten by boys from Twin Palm Secondary School who used golf sticks to beat him.

“I asked Ryan if he could identify any of the boys and he told him that he knew one boy who was a head boy from Twin Palm Secondary School,” said Phiri.

The matter comes up on March 17, 2021, for continued trial.