Mother dies months after her daughter
The mother of an Otago University student who died in a suspected suicide in March has also died suddenly.
Monica Soni died by suspected suicide last Wednesday. She had been battling the coronial system for the release of two letters written by daughter Niki Soni hours before her death on March 10 in Dunedin.
The 24-year-old wrote six letters to individuals before she died and instructed that her mother read them all.
Monica read four including one to herself, but two addressed to academics at the university where Niki was studying a masters degree were withheld by the police and coroner Anna Tutton as part of the inquest into Niki’s death.
Monica told the Weekend Herald in May it was Hindu custom that a deceased loved one’s final instructions be carried out before their ashes could be put to rest.
She said she needed to read the letters before she could take Niki’s ashes to India and it was breaking custom not to, which she found traumatising.
Monica, who was living in Canberra at the time, asked Dunedin police for the letters and appealed to the two staff they were addressed to.
When that didn’t work she tried the coroner’s office and hired a lawyer to argue her case.
On September 5 she flew to Auckland. Police found her body later that day. The office of chief coroner Deborah Marshall has confirmed she is now investigating both deaths.
An Otago University spokeswoman said: “University staff who knew Monica, and her daughter, have been shocked and saddened at this tragic news.”
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson said research showed people who lost close family members or friends to suicide were at significantly higher risk of suicidal behaviour, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other negative health and social outcomes.