Pregnant teen was strangled, court hears

2013-04-09 22:34

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Pretoria - Pregnant teenager Zanele Khumalo was strangled, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has heard on Tuesday.

Pathologist Dr Lorraine du Toit Prinsloo testified the 18-year-old Khumalo was five months pregnant when she died.

The most probable cause of her death was manual strangulation, meaning she had been strangled.

Prinsloo was testifying the trial of Khumalo's boyfriend Thato Kutumela, 26, accused of raping and murdering her at her parents' home in Garsfontein, Pretoria, two years ago. He has denied guilt.

In his plea explanation Kutumela said he had sex with Khumalo on the morning before her death, but denied having anything to do with her murder.

Prinsloo told the court Khumalo did not have any injuries indicative of sexual assault, but this did not exclude the possibility she had been raped.

She said it was not possible to say in what position Khumalo had been when she was strangled.

Khumalo was last seen alive on the morning of 21 April 2011.

A neighbour rushed her to hospital after her parents and sister discovered her naked body under a blanket on her bed when they arrived home after work that afternoon.

The emergency doctor who tried to resuscitate Khumalo, Dr Garry Joubert, testified the young woman was naked and wrapped in towels when she arrived at the hospital.

She was unresponsive and had no heartbeat or pulse.

Attempts to resuscitate her were stopped when it became clear there was no blood flow and that rigor mortis had already started to set in.

Joubert said the teenager had bruises on both sides of her neck. Her family had given a history of an abusive relationship and pregnancy.

He estimated Khumalo had probably died six or more hours before arriving at the hospital. The trial continues.

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