A mum died after a taking a fatal dose of nicotine in a traditional Zimbabwean healing ritual, a court heard.
Herbalist Lyndon Nindi, 49, has been jailed for manslaughter following his tragic treatment of Sophia Jekecha, 36, at her Nottingham home on February 16 last year.
Nindi was contacted by Sophia's mother in an attempt to cure her stomach pains for which he prescribed tobacco in the form of snuff to be applied both internally and externally.
Nottingham Crown Court heard the death of Miss Jekecha came under very unusual circumstances at the hands of fellow Zimbabwean national and care worker, Nindi.
The court heard a fatal dose of nicotine – toxic to the body – was administered to her and she died at the scene in the course of that ritual, NottinghamshireLive reports.
Nindi intended the snuff to make his patient vomit to purge any spirits inhibiting her body. Straw, sacking, cardboard and a blanket was laid out on the floor during the £150 procedure.
Miss Jekecha's brother heard the defendant say to his sister "that things could get bad for her during the treatment but she wouldn't die," said Nadia Silver, prosecuting.
Nindi poured snuff powder in his palm and held it to her nose to inhale and, at one point, held her nostrils closed and let go and she inhaled quickly.
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At a certain point, Miss Jekecha started to feel dizzy and needed to lie down. The defendant put snuff in a glass of water and held it to her mouth and told her to drink it.
"She began to demonstrate signs of increasing distress", explained Miss Silver. "She started to say she could not breathe."
Nindi called someone apparently for advice on how to proceed. After speaking on the phone, he applied more snuff to her body but her condition continued to worsen and she became unresponsive.
Nindi made another phone call seeking further advice, telling the man on the phone she was not breathing and asked that person should he call an ambulance and the man said he should.
Nindi called 999 and contacted the ambulance service at 6.45pm. He was instructed to give her CPR over the phone.
Officers were called to the address in Aspley Lane next to King George's V Playing Fields, Nottinghamshire Live had reported.
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The court heard she had an undiagnosed heart condition – there was damage to her heart muscle. Her heart was tragically likely to perform very poorly to a toxic challenge such as one posed by the ingestion of nicotine, the court heard.
Her brother said in a victim impact statement she was a "truly selfless, caring soul".
Mitigating, James Horn said the defendant did not foresee that his actions administering snuff subjected her to risk of harm beyond making her vomit as part of a traditional healing process. He did not recognise his behaviour was dangerous.
He was taught to use snuff by an experience spiritual healer.
Nindi, 49, of Kinross Drive, Newcastle, had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter at a court hearing this year.
He also admitted administering poison or a noxious substance to endanger life on February 16.
Judge Gregory Dickinson QC, the Recorder of Nottingham, imposed a two year prison sentence on each charge concurrently, of which he will serve half.
He said: "Lyndon Nindi, on February 16, 2020, you caused the death of Sophia Jekecha. You administered nicotine in the form of snuff in such quantity that her body could not withstand, could not cope with the toxic trauma."
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