AS IT HAPPENED: Henri's wounds scrutinised by doctor

2017-05-23 09:31

The Van Breda murder trial continued at the Western Cape High Court for day 16 of the proceedings. View updates as they happened here.

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Last Updated at 16:06
23 May 15:16
Botha finishes his cross examination. Court adjourned until 10am tomorrow.

23 May 15:14
Botha says Henri is certain that paramedics didn't clean his wound as those who took the photo wanted to document them as it was at the time. She says she cant comment on that.

23 May 15:04

Henri had constricted pupils and slow reaction to light, Botha says.

Tiemensma says constricted pupils could even be result of drugs, not limited to concussion.


23 May 15:04
She says he knew what he was doing when he Googled emergency services. Could be he had mild concussion, but wont give loss of consciousness for hours.

23 May 15:01
Referring to the bump to Henri's head. Tiemensma said it could have resulted in concussion.

23 May 14:56
His blood would have had to run down, but there is a gap between the wound and his pants, Tiemensma says.

23 May 14:55
Botha says if he was lying on the stairs and was bleeding, could it have resulted in that blood smudge? She says it is possible.

23 May 14:53
Paramedics had attended to it, and there are areas where there is no blood on the surrounding area.

23 May 14:52
Photos of blood on his wound is shown. She says it can't be concluded that that was the original state of the wound.

23 May 14:48
According to Adv Botha, Henri regained consciousness 2 hours 40 mins later after fainting from seeing his mother and Marli.

23 May 14:43
If he fell forward and his body was fixed in that position, it's possible, Tiemensma says.

23 May 14:42
She says there is no DNA evidence to confirm if its his.

23 May 14:42

Enlarged photo of part of the staircase being shown to Dr Tiemensma. A blood spot can be seen. Henri says when he regained consciousness, he was on the stairs in that vicinity, and noticed the stain on the stairs.

He now points to a blood spot on the elastic of the shorts Henri wore that morning. This, Botha says, is Henri's blood. Could stab wound have resulted in that spot? She says yes, if the blood matches his.

The blood saturated onto his boxer shorts. If it is his own blood, could that smudge (on stairs) been caused by the stab wound? Botha says police didn't take a swab of this blood. She says it depends on the position of his body when he fell.


23 May 14:28
Botha continues his cross-examination of Dr Tiemensma.

23 May 14:23
We're back!

23 May 14:03

23 May 14:02
INFOGRAPHIC: Wounds sustained by Henri van Breda

23 May 13:04
Court adjourned until 2:15pm.

23 May 13:00
Botha losing his cool with Tiemensma. Judge Desai tells him he is arguing with the witness, tells him to take a few seconds and ask his question again.

23 May 12:55

She says she doesn't believe his abdominal knife wound was up to 50mm.

A sturdy adult male his size has a layer of fat about 40mm thick.

There was no indication that wound entered the peritoneal cavity.  It was only in his subcutaneous fat.


23 May 12:55

Adv Botha keeps arguing that the cuts could be caused by the knife in attackers hand.

Dr Tiemensma is adamant that the wounds are self inflicted.


23 May 12:52

She explains self-inflicted cuts:

'When someone does this, they are in control of the cuts (how deep, the location).'

Cutting and slashing means you don't have control of the movement, Tiemensma says.

She says Henri's cuts are not caused by flicking movements of a knife.


23 May 12:47

Botha shows with the knife how an attacker could have flicked at Henry's arm.

Tiemensma says that movement would not have resulted in those wounds.

She describes Henri's arm wounds as "so nice and neat" .


23 May 12:30

Botha says while holding on to the assailants arm holding the knife, the attacker made a cutting movement across Henri's arm.

Tiemensma says it would not be linear and equal; more haphazard as there is still a struggle.


23 May 12:13

Adv Botha - Henri says initial movement of attacker was aiming towards his throat and he managed to pull his arm slightly down. 

Tiemensma - he definitely didn't strike anything close to the throat. You would expect a downwards sharp force injury toward the chest.


23 May 12:02
A normal person reacts to pain by moving away. You are not defending yourself by standing still, Dr Tiemensma says. She maintains there was movement.

23 May 11:59

The position described at the time of the wounds being inflicted is that there was pushing and pulling, slashing and stabbing, Tiemensma says.

This does not correspond with the wounds.


23 May 11:43
Tiemensma says there is pushing and pulling, not a static confrontation. Both arms up in the air; awkward position. Sharp edge of axe facing in Henri Van Breda's direction.

23 May 11:28

23 May 11:14
Dr Tiemensma: If you are aware, you would pull away. Why would you allow a person to make exactly the same cut at the same place? These are completely horizontal. Fine and delicate movements. Why would you allow a person to do it? Very unusual and unlikely. There was movement.

23 May 11:03

23 May 11:01

INFOGRAPHIC: Wounds sustained by Henri van Breda


23 May 10:52
You look at characteristics of the wounds. More characteristics you have, the more suspicious you get. Then look at how they would have been sustained,. Conclusions of possible self-inflicted wounds are determined by a number of factors, Tiemensma says.

23 May 10:48
Cuts on chest are of uniform shape (linear); could have been caused by one instrument, Tiemensma says.

23 May 10:42
He says the version of Dr Albertse would be the more acceptable version as she had examined Henri. Tiemensma counters she had the photos as evidence.

23 May 10:41
 Botha says there is a difference in the descriptions of  the wounds of Dr Albertse and Dr Tiemensma.

23 May 10:40
He says Dr Abertse - a general practioner -  examined Henri, her findings would be more accurate. Tiemensma say doctors are generally not very good with describing wounds.

23 May 10:37
Adv Botha cross examining.

23 May 10:35
Defence wounds essential to show another party was present. If grab at knife or axe, you expect there to be defence wounds.

23 May 10:34

Tiemensma says there is a strong contrast in comparison to his family's injuries.

Extensive chop wounds caused by an axe. None show any characteristics that it was inflicted with the same type of intent or force.


23 May 10:33
Wounds to thorax and abdomen seem to have a stabbing action, not slicing. Still very superficial. Description of how sustained doesn't fit in with the physical injury.

23 May 10:32

In this instance, it took place in the bedroom, at the foot of the bed, Galloway says.

Tiemensma say two people faced each other with sharp objects in hands. Pushing and pulling. Holding on to each other would make it difficult to execute very uniform incision to another person's body.

Would expect wounds in different directions if person pulls away.


23 May 10:28
Self inflicted wounds usually find on chest, abdomen, arms or hands. Wounds are in reachable areas. They are accessible.     Most cases in an area that the person could reach.

23 May 10:27
Deeper entrance and become more shallow is more typical if someone is stabbed by another person.

23 May 10:26

Reasons for describing some of his injuries as  possibly self-inflicted injuries - if you look at the type of wounds, they are superficial and non-fatal. Only danger to life is if it becomes infected.

Regular and equal depth, uniform, linear, no movement in the wounds, parallel, equally deep. They don't differ in depth.


23 May 10:23

Tiemensma compiled a report with notes by Dr Albertse.

She explained his mental health and emotional status as very quiet. She didn't appear to note any further concussion-like symptoms,


23 May 10:22
Concussions have grades. Sometimes symptoms last for a minute or more, sometimes up to a week. If mild, its usually short term.

23 May 10:21

Tiemensma says concussion will usually result in loss of consciousness for less than a minute.

If for hours or more than a few minutes, its in keeping with a more serious injury, may show through severe headache, nausea and vomiting, needs to be evaluated medically.


23 May 10:17

Adv Botha objects, saying Tiemensma's evidence is neurology. Galloway argues it's general medical terminology.

Tiemensma  also does clinical forensic work.


23 May 10:15
Tiemensma says concussion is a mild brain injury, loss of consciousness for a couple of seconds at most. But more than 90% of concussions doesn't result in loss of consciousness, she explains.

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