The hospital in Ras Al Khaimah where the two survivors of the tragedy are being cared for. Image Credit: Aghaddir Ali/Gulf News

Sharjah: The shock and grief due to the sudden death of their 19-year-old son due to an epileptic episode drove his parents to plan a family suicide, the elder of the two sisters who survived the group suicide in Sharjah on August 29, told hospital staff.

The two young women, identified as R.I., 17, and Y.I., 27, are under observation at Ibrahim Hamad Obaidalla Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah and their condition is improving, said a hospital source.

As Gulf News reported, a man jumped to his death from the seventh floor of a hotel apartment building in Sharjah on August 29 and when police, who were alerted of the incident by a witness, reached his apartment, they found it locked from the inside. They broke into the flat and found three women, one aged 54 and two younger women, lying in a pool of blood with their wrists slashed. The body of a youth covered with a sheet also lay in the room.

The older woman, the wife of the man who had jumped to his death, had died too while the two young women were rushed to hospital after showing signs of life. All five persons are of Sri Lankan nationality.

The deceased man, who was aged 55, was identified as J.N.K., his wife, aged 54, as B.S., and their son as J.N.K. Of the two women who survived, R.I., the 17-year-old, is the daughter of the deceased couple while Y.I., the 27 year-old, is the deceased woman’s daughter from her previous marriage.

The two survivors received treatment at Al Kuwaiti Hospital before being transferred to Ibrahim Hamad Obaidalla Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah for psychological assessment.

According to Y.I., the sudden death of the youth following an epilepsy attack devastated his parents and they decided to end their lives.

The father left behind a full-page suicide note saying “it was nobody’s fault” and that the decision “was theirs”. The youth had died two days prior to the suicide plan.

Y.I. told the hospital staff that, on Saturday, August 26, three days before the group suicide attempt, the father who had been without a job for some months, had landed a new job. The family rejoiced in the news as their residency status, which had turned illegal, was to be restored and they could get back to living a normal life.

On that day, the father asked his son to run some errands for him as he had to prepare to take up his new job. The son went to take copies of documents, purchase groceries and do a few other things before returning home in the evening.

At night, as the son was chatting with Y.I., he began to cough and fell to the floor unable to breathe as he struggled with an epileptic attack. As the family was in no position to provide him immediate medical assistance, the young man died.

His death led to the father blaming himself for it and the parents decided that, their only son having died, there was no reason for them to live either.

The son’s death could also not be reported to the police or his body taken to the hospital as the father was an illegal resident and had several bank loan repayment defaults against his name. The father felt that if he surrendered to the police, he would be put in jail and in that eventuality, his wife threatened to kill herself.

The entire family then decided to end their lives with the father penning a suicide note.

The next thing was to decide on how they would go about the suicide pact. The first idea was to consume an overdose of medicine, so the four members of the family put together all the medicines in the house and drank them in equal parts. But when they woke up groggy the next morning and realised that the dosage had not been enough to kill them and that a more drastic method was required.

The father then suggested that he would slash the wrists of the three women, while he himself would jump to his death. But since it would be painful to have their wrists slashed, he said that they should first numb themselves with alcohol. The three women agreed to the plan. So the man took his wife’s gold bracelet and sold it in the market and, with that money, purchased a large quantity of alcohol.

Later in the day, the family gave away all their posessions having decided nothing they owned could be of use to them any more.

At midnight, the foursome consumed alcohol and the husband first slashed the wrists of his wife and, holding her close, wept inconsolably as she bled to death in his arms. He then slashed the wrists of R.I. and Y.I. and made the fatal plunge. It was 2.30 am.

Dr Riyadh Jabar, chief psychiatric specialist at the hospital, told Gulf News that the two sisters are being kept under observation under camera surveillance. Though they appear to be calm, they may yet attempt suicide again though both have said they will not, the doctor said.

Y.I. sustained deep but non-fatal injuries while the younger sister , R.I., had surface cuts on her wrists.
The hospital has contacted the Sri Lankan embassy to follow up on the matter and find a solution for the girls as they do not have any other relatives in the country.

The two sisters will be handed over to Sharjah Police once their condition improves.

Meanwhile, an official at Sharjah Public prosecution told Gulf News that they are still investigating the case. They said they believe the son died of an epileptic attack though they are awaiting the forensic report to determine the real cause of death.