Homicide probe into death of British teenager in South Africa is dropped

January 14, 2013 | by | 0 Comments
Maya Tankaria, 18, died from multiple injuries after falling from a car speeding along coastal roads at 70 MPH

Maya Tankaria, 18, died from multiple injuries after falling from a car speeding along coastal roads at 70 MPH

A homicide investigation into the death of a Brit teen who died in South Africa has been dropped, it has been revealed.

Maya Tankaria, 18, died from multiple injuries after falling from a car speeding along coastal roads at 70 mph.

The driver of the Volkswagen Caddy claimed that the teen had thrown herself from the moving vehicle but local police mounted an investigation into Maya’s death.

Officers launched a ‘culpable homicide’ probe – the equivalent of a UK manslaughter charge – following the incident on January 5, 2010.

But after South African prosecutors spent two years examining the case, they concluded that there was no foul play and dropped the case.

South Africa police captain Bernadine Steyn confirmed that there would be no prosecution over the death.

She said: ““The autopsy results indicated that the cause of death was due to multiple internal injuries.

“The docket was fully investigated and taken to the Senior State Prosecutor for a decision whether to prosecute or not.

“A decision was made that no foul play was suspected and therefore nobody will be held accountable for her death.

“The docket was closed.“

It is thought that Maya, from Birmingham, hitched a lift from the driver of the silver vehicle before tragedy struck.

Locals suggested she had been trying to make the 30-mile trip from picturesque coastal resort Mossel Bay to her lodgings in Sedgefield.

Prosecutors compiled a dossier of evidence related to the incident and presented it to magistrates in February 2011.

Speaking at the time, local Neil Oelofse said youngsters had been warned not to hitch lifts because of the dangers.

He said: “We do get quite a few Eng lish youngsters who come and stay down here. They find a little job to keep them going, and enjoy the landscapes and good weather.

“The area is very scenic. We have forest and mountain walks and tourism is by far the biggest industry.

“Locals and tourists know hitching lifts can be very dangerous. It is a much safer area in terms of crime than, say, Johannesburg or Cape Town.

“But still everybody here knows that cadging lifts is just not safe.

“If she had been staying in the area for any length of time, she would have known that as well.”

Maya, a student of Edgbaston High School, Birmingham, lived with parents Hitesh and Menna, and brother Joe.

The family has never spoken publicly about the tragedy but on the third anniversary of the tragedy they left an online tribute to Maya.

On January 5, 2013, they wrote: “Maya Bethan 10.03.91 05.01.10. Our lily, our rose. Shining on. Love Mam, Dad and Joey.“

Dozens of friends left tributes on an online memorial site.

Kiran Thandi wrote: “Menna, Hitesh and Joe “Thinking about you all, as you journey to put Maya to rest.

“Words will not be of much comfort at this time (as I know only to well), just remember that where ever you are, Maya will always be close by.”

Sian Davies added: “Dear Hitesh, Menna and Joe. “Thinking of you all, my deepest sympathy to you. “I will always have happy memories of Maya’s cheeky smile.”

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