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Boy, 9, 'poisoned' by father before apparent suicide on holiday in South Africa

UK officials are probing the death of a “fun-loving, caring, bright and beautiful” nine-year-old boy, suspected to have been murdered by his father while on holiday in South Africa.

Noah Smith, who lived in Burham and was a keen Cub Scout in Maidstone, had travelled to Johannesburg with dad, Vuyo Tame, earlier this year.

On January 8, staff at the undisclosed Johannesburg hotel found Noah and Tame unresponsive before paramedics pronounced them both dead at the scene.

Noah Smith died aged nine while on holiday with his father in Johannesburg
Noah Smith died aged nine while on holiday with his father in Johannesburg

A post-mortem found the cause of Noah’s death to be diphenhydramine poisoning with an over-the-counter drug.

The active ingredient is found in products to treat allergies, insomnia, colds and nausea.

Officials suspect Tame killed his son – who was a member of St Paul’s Scout Group and lived in Rochester Road – before taking his own life shortly after.

Mum Vicky Smith said: “Noah had a rare, unforgettable charisma but also such humility.

"Noah was a fun-loving, caring, bright and beautiful boy.

"He was the kind of child that just shone that bit brighter.

“He was clearly destined for great achievements in life, making his death so much more tragic and so hard for me to bear.

“Noah was in black belt training at Kung Fu, and was a seconder in his Cub Scouts pack.

“He enjoyed other sports including football and tennis at school.

Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Thinkstock
Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Thinkstock

“Dancing, drama and swimming were also relished activities. Noah had so many talents, interests and abilities.

“I loved being his mother and felt privileged to watch him grow into such a beautiful, funny and kind boy.

“I loved every minute and special moment that I had with him, and I will cherish the memories of him forever.

“All my family and me feel his loss so very deeply, and we have been truly devastated by his death and we are struggling to deal with the aftermath.

“It is tough to see a future without Noah or accept what has happened.”

More than £3,000 has since been raised in Noah’s memory, which will be used to help the scout club to grow and expand.

Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg, South Africa

An inquest opening was held at The Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone last week, where assistant coroner Ian Wade said: “These brief facts leave me in no doubt Noah’s death is unnatural and in these circumstances an inquest is required.

“Noah was nine years old and was taken to South Africa by his father for the purpose of a holiday.

“The circumstances in which he died, in the same room as his father, are extremely suspicious.

“An investigation was not carried out in any great depth in South Africa due to the apparent circumstances of his father appearing to have taken his own life.

“I have suspicions he was involved in the sad and tragic death of Noah.”

The opening was told a UK pathologist must await any revelations from an investigation in South Africa before a final and conclusive cause of death can be reached.

Mr Wade added: “I offer my sympathy and condolences to the family. The death of a nine-year-old in these circumstances is truly dreadful.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “Our staff have been supporting the family of a British child following his death in South Africa in January, and continue to do all they can to assist them.”

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