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Updated | Family says teacher drove girl to Dingli

Zahra family suggests Erin Tanti, a teacher, neglected responsibility towards vulnerable teenager that died in tragic fall

Matthew Vella
20 March 2014, 10:41am
Last updated on 20 March 2014, 8:12pm
The family of Lisa Maria Zahra say Erin Tanti (photo) drove the girl up to Dingli, where the tragedy later ensued.
The family of Lisa Maria Zahra, who tragically lost her life in a fall from Dingli cliffs, have declared that drama teacher Erin Tanti, 23, drove her to Dingli and was now the subject of an ongoing police investigation.

The Zahra family are refuting the suggestion that Tanti, a drama teacher at a private school in San Gwann where Zahra was a student, was assisting the girl throughout a difficult period in her life.

Tanti was said to be in a critical condition after he was retrieved from a ledge beneath Dingli cliffs, but Zahra - the 15-year-old now identified as the daughter of businessman Anthony Zahra - died in the fall. Police have ruled out foul play but are exploring all avenues as to how the tragic incident took place.

"The cruel reality is that Lisa Maria Zahra was a vulnerable minor at the age of 15, and Erin Tanti is a 23-year-old teacher with the relevant responsibilities that come with this role," the family said.

"The tragic situation that developed after Tanti drove Lisa Maria to Dingli is one which is still subject to ongoing police investigations and prudence in any commentary, as well as the family's privacy in these difficult moments, should be respected at this time," the family said.

Tanti was at the time performing in a play entitled ‘Festen’. A friend of Tanti alleged that the man could have been assisting the young girl through a difficult period in her life.

Both Zahra and Tanti were reported missing by the police earlier on Tuesday morning.

The two were found injured at the foot of Dingli Cliffs on Tuesday afternoon.

Friends on Facebook have flooded Tanti’s wall with messages of encouragement.

Appogg supportline

Supportline 179 is the national helpline offering support, information about local social welfare services and other agencies, and a referral service to callers who requires support

Do call Supportline 179 for assistance on domestic violence, homelessness, suicidal tendencies, marital and/or family problems, loneliness, emotional difficulties, behavioral problems, depression and other mental health issues, human trafficking, substance abuse, gambling, amongst others; 

Supportline 179 is run by a team of professionally trained volunteers and receives calls on situations of child abuse, domestic violence, drug/alcohol/gambling problems, amongst others.

All calls received on the EU Emotional Support Helpline 116 123, are also dealt with by the Supportline 179 team.

Helpline 116 123 offers emotional support to callers suffering from loneliness, those who find themselves in a state of psychological crises, and those who require emotional support due to various life situations they might be encountering.

Matthew Vella

After graduating in anthropology he joined MaltaToday...
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