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Jazz blaze investigated

2009-09-04 10:28

Nurene Jassiem

Cape Town - Police and forensic experts are looking into the cause of a tragic car fire which claimed the life of the two-year-old daughter of satirist Justin Nurse.

Vanilla Nurse, 2, died on Wednesday afternoon on the way to a local hospital in Fish Hoek.

Police spokesperson, Inspector November Filander, said Nurse's wife Camilla and the child had gone shopping shortly before the incident.

"Camilla was carrying some of the shopping into the house and left Vanilla in the car. Shortly thereafter, she heard the car alarm go off, ran outside and saw the family's Honda Jazz in flames," said Filander.

She tried to get the child out of the car and sustained minor burn wounds. Vanilla died on the way to the hospital, while her mother was admitted to a local hospital with burn wounds.

Honda to help with investigation

Honda spokesperson Joeline Dabrowski said on Thursday they were aware of what had happened. According to their knowledge, there had never before been such an incident involving a Honda Jazz.

Yoshiaki Nakamura, managing director of Honda South Africa, said: "We are very sad about the tragic death of Nurse's daughter, as well as for the injuries his wife sustained."

"We pledge to give our full co-operation to the appointed forensic team to determine the cause of this tragedy."

Police confiscated the vehicle and forensic testing will be done.

The Cape Times reported that forensic expert David Klatzow will conduct an in-depth forensic investigation into the fire. He told the newspaper he would be looking at "possible sources of ignition, short circuits, point of ignition in the car and leaks in the fuel tank"

'Beautiful little girl'

On Thursday Bryce Hepburn, Nurse's business partner and friend of the family, described Vanilla as "the prettiest, most beautiful little girl".

"Camilla was discharged from hospital and is currently recuperating at home. At this stage, Justin isn't answering his phone because the shock is still too severe," he said.

"I think everyone's as shocked about what happened as we are," he said.

The couple have another daughter, Willow.

Nurse made news headlines in 2005 when he won a court battle against South African Breweries (SAB) for printing the words "Black Labour, White Guilt" with the Black Label logo on a T-shirt for sale by his company.


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