Slain teen had no internal genital injuries, court hears

2013-11-28 16:24
(Nielen Bottomley, News24)

(Nielen Bottomley, News24)

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Cape Town - While slain teenager Charmaine Mare had no internal genital injuries, sexual interference could not be excluded, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.

Pathologist Dr Celeste de Vaal said Mare's genitals were charred on the outside but the internal vaginal wall was not lacerated and there were no internal haemorrhages.

During the post-mortem at the Tygerberg mortuary on 15 January this year, she collected evidence for an adult sexual assault kit but the samples did not test positive for male DNA.

She was testifying in the trial of 48-year-old Johannes Christiaan de Jager, who has pleaded not guilty to murdering 16-year-old Mare in January.

He previously explained that he dismembered Mare's corpse in a state of panic after an accidental fatal fall.

He stored her body in an upright foetal position in an outside drain at his home the same day.

He tried to retrieve her body two days later but struggled, so he cut her lower arms and legs off.

Mare's torso was dumped and set alight at an open field in Kraaifontein.

Her lower legs and arms were found in separate locations and were in a state of decomposition but not burnt.

In May this year, the director of public prosecutions sent De Vaal a list of questions to establish the level and type of criminality involved.

Reading out one of her answers in court, De Vaal said proving sexual interference as per the new definition of sexual assault was extremely difficult.

"To prove sexual interference in a deceased, charred, and decomposing body is an even greater challenge," she said.

"In the absence of any evidence at the autopsy, including the completion of the sexual assault evidence collection kit, sexual interference cannot be excluded in this case."

Rape charge

Sakkie Maartens, for De Jager, said his client did not face a sexual assault or rape charge.

He put it on record that his client would deny that he, at any stage, had sex with Mare.

De Vaal testified that Mare's torso was naked when it arrived at her lab.

"I did not receive a bra and top," she said.

Romay van Rooyen, for the State, asked whether Mare had been wearing panties.

The pathologist said she had not.

Mare's dismembered lower legs were clothed in dark blue tracksuit leggings.

The bones of her limbs appeared to be smooth and clean cut.

De Vaal was asked whether the bolt cutter, bush saw and tree trimmer seized from De Jager could have been used to cut the limbs.

"Any instrument that causes a clean cut, incised surface could have been used, as is the case with some of the mentioned instruments like the bolt cutter and tree trimmer," she replied.

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