Leyland ex-pat dies in Gambia

Tragic: Mohammed Farid Jabakhanji and bride Simone Jabakhanji on their wedding day. She died in Gambia in August 2011
Tragic: Mohammed Farid Jabakhanji and bride Simone Jabakhanji on their wedding day. She died in Gambia in August 2011
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With white sandy beaches and the Atlantic Ocean the perfect backdrop to her big day, Simone Jabakhanji looks every inch the perfect bride.

But just over a year after this picture was taken, the former Leyland schoolgirl’s new life thousands of miles away from home was to be cut tragically short.

Police in Gambia have confirmed they are investigating the death of 28 years old Simone Jabakhanji, maiden name Lally, who was found dead at her home in the capital city of the country last Saturday.

Tributes have flooded in for the former Wellfield Business and Enterprise College student, who used to live at The Pines, Leyland.

Her husband Mohammed Jabakhanji, 29, told police he returned to the couple’s home in the Pipeline district of the city on Saturday, August 13, and found her hanging from a door.

He told officers he took her to hospital with the help of the house’s caretaker, where Mrs Jabakhanji was later pronounced dead.

Police confirmed they are investigating the cause and circumstances of her death and Mr Jabakhanji, a businessman in the city, is assisting with enquiries.

Simone moved to Gambia early in 2009 around six months after her dad Peter died of cancer and married her partner Mohammed on Valentine’s Day 2010.

Her brother Peter Lally, 24, who lives in Leyland and works for North Star Estates said: “All I can say at the moment is that I miss her so much and just wish to see her again.

“My last contact with her was on the phone three weeks ago, just before coming to Dubai.

“She was a wonderful person and loved by so many. She was my best sister and still is in my heart.”

Loving tributes have flooded in on social networking sites since her death.

Dayle McWilliam, said: “Had news I never wanted to receive, RIP Simone Lally.

“A very dear friend of mine, I’ll never ever forget the drives, Browns, the laughs, the tears we shared.

“Hold my mum tight sweetheart, you’re in your daddy’s arms.

“Lost for words, I love you.”

Fiona Scott, said: “Life is so cruel at times, RIP Simone.”

Rebecca Lord said: “I miss you terribly and still can’t believe you’ve gone. Always and forever dally Lally! Xx”

Speaking about the investigation, Gambia police assistant superintendent Yerro Mballow, the police’s public relations officer, said: “The husband was out.

“On his return he found out his wife was hanged around the door. Then he called the caretaker and they escorted the wife to hospital.”

Asst Supt Mballow said the police were called in after she was brought into the hospital.

He confirmed a post mortem examination has taken place and the results are due to be returned next week.

Asst Supt Mballow said: “When she was admitted to the hospital, that was the time the police were called.

“It is a normal investigation to find out the cause and come up with a conclusion.”

Her body is expected to be repatriated to Britain imminently.

He added: “That is something for her family, it is up to the family to repatriate her any time they want to.”

Maria Lally who is Mrs Jabakhanji’s cousin, said: “Simone was beautiful inside and out and I’m completely devastated to hear she has been snatched away from our family.”

A Facebook page was set up in January 2009 encouraging people to attend Simone’s leaving party, taking place in Preston.

It said: “She will be truly missed but will always be in our lives, just a few miles away hey - haha. Anyway, I want you all out for this, no excuses.

“She’s leaving us for Gambia so come on.”

Mrs Jabakhanji also left an excited message on the social networking site ahead of the night. It read: “Thanks guys be nice to see everyone there.”

* Did you know Simone? Call Charlotte Wareing on 01257 264911 or email charlotte.wareing@lep.co.uk