Footprint of accused found at Montecasino murder victim's home

2015-04-21 17:59


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Johannesburg - The footprint of Maruschka Robinson, who with JP Malan is accused of killing Dustan Blom, was found at his home after his death, the South Gauteng High Court sitting in Palm Ridge heard on Tuesday.

Blom was found dead in the boot of his Nissan at Montecasino in Fourways, Johannesburg, on September 22 2013. He was likely killed on September 18.  

State witness, Constable Loushie Mahlaba, a fingerprint expert at the Criminal Record Centre in Sandton, told the court he worked on the scene at Montecasino, and at Blom's home, where Robinson lived prior to Blom's death.

He lifted a footprint from the floor in the TV room, next to the sofa, and got sample footprints from the investigating officer.

"My lady, on September 12  2014, I received a set of footprints... on which the name of Robinson, Maruschka, appeared on it," he told Judge Delize Smith.

He compared the footprint he lifted with the one he got from the investigating officer and determined they were Robinson’s.

"I marked seven ridge characteristics... that are matching to each other. They should be sufficient to prove the identity of a person without a reasonable doubt. There are no two people who share the same footprint."

Mahlaba lifted two other footprints at the scene, but they were not of sufficient quality to indicate who had made them.

Prosecutor Zaais van Zyl, looking at photos of all three footprints lifted at Blom's home, including Robinson's, asked why they looked grainy. Mahlaba said it appeared the floor was wiped before the footprints were made.

Van Zyl next called Ildiko Fenyvesi, a lecturer in toxicology at Witwatersrand University to the stand. He told the court about the drug gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Robinson has testified that she spiked Blom’s drink with it.

"It was supposed to have anaesthetic as well as sedative [effects] for a person, but in time it wasn't such a good drug. So it evolved into a recreational drug that people started to take, especially ravers who wanted to have a feeling of euphoria," she said.

A potent drug

Following the initial euphoria, GHB had sedative effects, so people would use it to lose their inhibitions, then relax and sleep.

"It's quite a potent drugs and it’s quite fast-acting so that people... feel the effects fairly quickly."

From the point of ingestion, with the drug most commonly being taken in liquid form orally, it would have its desired effect "quite soon, definitely within a few minutes". Its effects lasted less than an hour.

"In my experience and my reading, it is mainly taken orally and why it's so effective is because it doesn't have much taste. And in sexual facilitated crimes, it's one of those drugs that people use as a date rape drug due to the rapid effect it has."

GHB was not easily identified because everyone had baseline levels of the GHB compound in their bodies.

Malan's lawyer, JP Marais, asked Fenyvesi during cross-examination whether it was possible for natural GHB levels to increase in a body following death.

Fenyvesi said it could happen.

Earlier in the trial, Robinson said in her statement, which was read to the court, that Blom gave her his bank card and pin number and permission to draw money from his account. 

However, Robinson and Malan stole money from Blom, using his bank card to draw money from his account, and deleted the SMS he received from the bank notifying him of the transaction, before returning the card. "Usually we would spike the deceased’s drink with GHB before we did this," she said in her statement.

On Monday, pathologist Dr Shirley Moeng testified that Blom died of asphyxiation.

She could not say whether it was because of strangulation. Toxicology results indicated no drugs were in Blom's system at the time of his death.

Smith postponed the matter to Wednesday morning.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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