Killer 'lost it', court hears

2012-05-17 22:26
Pretoria - Whoever attacked a frail-looking Bronkhorstspruit farmer's wife "must have lost it", a pathologist told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

Dr P Lombard, who performed a post mortem on Monica van Vuuren in 2010, testified that she had been a small, slender woman who weighed only 43.2kg, but had been stabbed 25 times and had a broken neck and jaw.

The first question that entered his mind on seeing the body was "why?" Lombard said.

"All I can say is that whoever did it, must have lost it. Why 25 stab wounds and a dislocated spine? Serious violence was used.

"Taking into consideration the physique of the accused, nobody needs that amount of violence to achieve the demise of a person," he said.

Lombard testified that a spinal injury and stab wounds to both sides of the chest had caused Van Vuuren's death.

The stab wounds had caused her lungs to collapse. The penetration of her heart would have led to irreversible shock and death.

No emotion

He said four of the stab wounds to her body were inflicted after her death.

The fact that both of her index fingers had superficial lacerations indicated that she might have tried to defend herself, he said.

Her husband, Albert van Vuuren, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife during an argument in their house on his former family farm near Bronkhorstspruit in July 2010.

He listened to details of his wife's death without showing any emotion, and at one stage turned around and smiled at a family member sitting behind him.

Gordon McCallum, who stayed with the Van Vuurens at the time, and a policewoman testified earlier this week that Van Vuuren had confessed to them that he killed his wife.

The policewoman said Van Vuuren told her he did it because his wife wanted to poison him and wanted a divorce.

She admitted that Van Vuuren was heavily under the influence of alcohol at the time and that he had refused to say anything after sobering up the next day.

Counsel for Van Vuuren, JJ Greeff, suggested during cross-examination that McCallum - a man with a history of violence and mental health problems - might have been involved in the murder.

Another witness testified that Van Vuuren had repeatedly told him the next day that he had not killed his wife.

The trial continues.

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