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Late CMED boss ‘depressed, suicidal’

By Fungai Lupande

A doctor who treated the late board chairman of CMED (Pvt) Ltd and managing director of Nemchen (Pvt), Mr Leslie John Denn, of depression has said the man had work-related stress and was failing to cope with life.

Mr Denn (35) shot himself once in the head and his body was found by his wife at their Borrowdale house in Harare.
Mr Denn (35) allegedly shot himself once in the head and his body was found by his wife at their Borrowdale house in Harare.

Mr Denn reportedly shot himself on the upper torso in May last year in unclear circumstances and his body was found by his fiancee, Ashton Pillary, at his Borrowdale home.

Testifying during Mr Denn’s inquest, Dr Aseema Sharief, who is employed by Avicenna Medical Centre in Harare, said she put him on anti-depressants in January 2015.

“We had a long discussion and he said that he was not emotionally balanced,” she said.

“I then placed him on medication. Three days later, I received a phone call from his girlfriend, Pillary, saying that Mr Denn was threatening to kill himself.

“We gave an urgent letter to the girlfriend because he needed to be admitted in a hospital under the care of a specialist psychologist. I saw him in April that year and he said he was feeling better and was taking his med-ication.

“February 10, 2016 was his next follow-up date and he was looking well and stable.”

Dr Sharief said she then referred Mr Denn to a psychologist. Charles Mafemera asked Dr Sharief from the gallery to shed more light on the long discussion she had with Mr Denn.

“He had personal issues which included work-related stress and financial difficulties,” said Dr Sharief.

“He said he was emotionally low and was failing to cope with life. The counselling and medicines improved his condition.”

Mr Denn’s psychologist, Mr Kageler Ernst William, said he started psychological therapy with the deceased in 2015.

“He was suffering from severe depression and when we started therapy he showed signs of recovery,” said Mr William.

“In March and April 2016, he started having suicidal ideas and I persuaded him not to commit suicide.

“At the time he left my last session he was still contemplating suicide, but he made no statement that he will commit suicide.”

Dr Sharief and Mr William said they could not make definite statements that Mr Denn indeed committed suicide.

Prosecutor Ms Francesca Mukumbiri closed the inquest, with presiding magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube expected to give his conclusion next Tuesday. The Herald