Girl, seven, died after her hoodie caught on a door handle

Girl, seven, died after her hoodie that had a hole in it caught on a door handle and strangled her to death, coroner rules

  • Kimora Zondo was found by her nine-year-old brother at their home in Cardiff
  • Boy told his mother, Vonnie Dube, that Zimora was ‘pretending to be sleepy’
  • Inquest heard that how the hoodie became caught on handle was a mystery

A seven-year-old girl died after she was strangled by her hoodie when it got caught on a door handle at her home in Cardiff.

Kimora Zondo was found by her nine-year-old brother after her mother, Vonnie Dube, asked him to check on her after she woke up from a nap on March 7.

The boy told his mother Kimora was ‘pretending to be sleepy’ but when Ms Dube tickled her feet and armpits there was no response.

After getting home from Albany Primary School Kimora had changed from her school uniform into a pink H&M hoodie, Pontypridd Coroners’ Court heard.

It is unclear how the hoodie became caught on the door handle.

Kimora Zondo, seven, died at her home in Roath (pictured), Cardiff, after she was strangled by her hoodie when it became caught on a door handle

An investigation into Kimora’s death was launched by South Wales Police, who interviewed her older brother twice and asked him about how he found his sister.

A post-mortem examination was carried out which ascertained the cause of Kimora’s death as pressure to the neck caused by a ligature.

The police and forensic pathologists carried out a number of recreations of how the incident had been described, with a dummy the same height and weight of Kimora used with replicas of her hoodie.

Forensic pathologist Dr Richard Jones said: ‘I still have concerns about how Kimora came to be hanging from the door handle on the hallway side because of the lack of space there and the impossibility of it occurring by her running accidentally past for example.

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‘If you asked the question “Is it possible for a child wearing a hooded top to actually be suspended from that handle in the manner which is suggested by her brother?” then yes it’s possible but quite how she got into that position I can’t say.’

The inquest heard that Ms Dube told her children to get on with their homework before she fell asleep at their home in Roath at around 5pm. When she woke up she realised something was wrong with her daughter.

In a statement read out to the court, Ms Dube said: ‘We were telling her to wake up otherwise I would take her watch from her but there was no movement so I asked [her brother] to bring her closer and he pulled her by her hands.

‘He checked her wrists and I shook her and tickled her armpits and feet because she was sensitive there but she didn’t do anything.’

She was found by her nine-year-old brother who told their mother, Vonnie Dube, that she was ‘pretending to be sleepy’. She had changed into a pink H&M hoodie after getting home from Albany Primary School, pictured

Kimora’s 16-year-old aunt attempted CPR before ambulance crews arrived and she was taken to hospital. She was pronounced dead at 8.06pm the same day.

When asked if she wanted to see her daughter Ms Dube said: ‘No, I want her to wake up.’

Continuing her statement about her ‘loving’ daughter, Ms Dube said: ‘I would say she was a happy baby and I don’t understand how this happened.

‘She was always loud and we could sometimes hear her outside so if something happened why didn’t she call out or make a noise?’ 

In reaching his conclusion assistant coroner Nadim Bashir expressed his condolences to Kimora’s family.

He added: ‘There is simply no evidence of how she came to be caught by the hoodie on the door handle.

‘I found the account given to the police by [her brother] is consistent with him finding his sister in the way he described and consistent with the evidence I heard this morning. Nothing suggests his accounts was false or partially false.

‘In the circumstances, the only possible explanation that can be given in this case was a hole in the hoodie and Kimora was in the hallway with her head close to the the handle to allow her to get caught on the handle, was unable to extricate herself in the second it would take to lose consciousness, and death quickly thereafter.’

Mr Bashir recorded a conclusion of accidental death.

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