Hammer an ‘unlikely’ murder weapon in Van der Vyver case

2010-11-17 14:46

It was “highly unlikely” that Fred van der Vyver’s ornamental hammer caused the injuries inflicted on his murdered girlfriend, a forensic pathologist told the Cape High Court today.

Professor Gert Saayman of the University of Pretoria was testifying in Van der Vyver’s R46 million civil claim against the minister of police for malicious prosecution.

Inge Lotz’s bloodied body was found in her Stellenbosch flat in March 2005 with multiple wounds to the head, neck and chest, and Van der Vyver was tried and acquitted of her murder.

The state claimed the hammer, which has a bottle opener instead of a claw, was the murder weapon.

Saayman, who also testified for Van der Vyver in the criminal trial, said today that the hammer had a striking surface of only 22mm across.

A number of the skull wounds were clearly larger than that.

Wounds such as those would typically be caused rather by a rigid “linear or cylindrical” object, he said.

He said he stood by his earlier conclusion that it was “highly unlikely” that Van der Vyver’s hammer caused the injuries.

Asked by Van der Vyver’s advocate, Dup de Bruyn, about the likelihood “on the probabilities” of the hammer being the murder weapon, he said: “No. Not used.”

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