AS IT HAPPENED: 'Vital findings' excluded from second autopsy report, court hears in #Rohde trial

2017-11-22 09:20

Chief pathologist Dr Diedre Abrahams has told the High Court she agreed with State pathologist Dr Akmal Coetzee-Khan's finding that Susan had been manually strangled, and that the ligature mark on her neck occurred after her death.


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Last Updated at 04:06
22 Nov 15:10

Ligature mark on Susan Rohde "dubiously low" and indicates post-mortem placement in a seated position most likely to conceal a manual strangulation.

Court adjourns to tomorrow. (Thursday, 23 November)

22 Nov 15:07

22 Nov 15:05

22 Nov 15:00
Abrahams is alleging possible negligence, misleading findings, ommissions as she goes through Perumal's report on the private autopsy conducted on Susan. 

22 Nov 14:54
Abrahams says Perumal did not comment on scratch-like marks on Susan and whether they were signs of self-defence or assailant injury to the deceased.

22 Nov 14:35

22 Nov 14:33
Abrahams turns to Dr Perumal's report, and notes that the time of death is in dispute and says cannot resolve this through second autopsy.

22 Nov 14:32

22 Nov 14:32
Abrahams points at picture that she says shows evidence of blunt force trauma to the lungs before Susan Rohde's death.

22 Nov 14:24

22 Nov 12:56

22 Nov 12:55


There were signs of a physical altercation before strangulation which lasted more than a few minutes, and could have lasted up to an hour, he said.

Blood was found in Susan's stomach and small intestine.

Khan thought she might have coughed up blood and then swallowed it.

22 Nov 12:50

22 Nov 12:45
Abrahams said Susan Rohde's ribs seem to have been broken by blunt force trauma. There were contusions in her lungs, blood had gone through her stomach towards her bowel.

22 Nov 12:17

22 Nov 12:14

22 Nov 12:10
Prosecutor announces that miraculously a pointer is now working, and is passed to her. She points red dot at scratch marks under Susan's chin and on bottom side of neck ligature mark.

22 Nov 12:08

22 Nov 12:07
Abrahams also concluded that ligature indentation on neck is consistent with post mortem-placement.

22 Nov 12:07

22 Nov 12:06
She is asked to explain how she came to findings in her report of what Coetzee-Khan was doing during Susan Rohde's autopsy on 26 July, 2016.

22 Nov 12:00

22 Nov 11:58

22 Nov 11:58

22 Nov 11:57

22 Nov 11:57
She decided she would assist him - also because it was a high profile case - involving a politician, or media interest.

22 Nov 11:56
He was alarmed that the door to the bathroom could not open easily. There was no key, but there was a slot and that slot could easily be opened.

22 Nov 11:56
He said there were further injuries on her body which wouldn't just fit into suicide.

22 Nov 11:55

22 Nov 11:54

He had been on first call so he went out. She was not on call. It was a medical officer or diploma-ed person on second call.

He called her because there was blood on the bedding, pillow in bedroom, faeces around body on different sites, and he found mark around her neck.

22 Nov 11:54
He called her because they are rotating "first call" so that two people are on duty - one a specialist and one a diploma. 

22 Nov 11:52
Another person came to assist with CPR, says Abrahams, according to what Coetzee-Khan told her.

22 Nov 11:52
Dr Khan reported to her by phone that the husband of the deceased said that she was hanging behind the door and that when he and the employee got into the bathroom, they removed her from the hanging position and started CPR.

22 Nov 11:51
They couldn't open the door freely, that there was someone behind, the body was behind the door.

22 Nov 11:51
The story was that she was there with her husband and he had last seen her at around 7 in the morning when she went to bathroom. When he wanted to go to bathroom, the bathroom was locked and he (Jason) had to call for assistance.

22 Nov 11:50
Abrahams testifised that colleague Dr Akmal Coetzee-Khan was called to Spier and that he was inside the suite when he found a white adult female lying on the floor, dead.

22 Nov 11:44
Dr Abrahams produced a report on Susan Rohde autopsy and concur with Dr Coetzee-Khan after having read his report.

22 Nov 11:43

22 Nov 11:43
Dr Abrahams has worked at Paarl forensic services since 2003. She is chief of unit in charge of West Coast/Winelands. Coetzee-Khan at Vredendal assists with work in their region.

22 Nov 11:41

22 Nov 11:21
Dr Coetzee-Khan finally steps down. Court adjourned for tea.

22 Nov 11:10

22 Nov 11:10

Prosecutor Louis van Niekerk says pictures can help with the cause of broken ribs.

CK says it could have been blunt force trauma, or when she fell into the garden bed and small retaining wall during the confrontations with Jason during her last hours. 

22 Nov 11:08

22 Nov 11:07
Prosecutor now asks Coetzee-Khan to display the headblock he uses at autopsy of Susan Rohde. Lots of rustling of plastic while he removes the brown wooden structure with curved neck rest edged into it. Shoulder blades rest on other part.

22 Nov 11:02

22 Nov 11:02
CK accused of setting out to exclude hanging. His mention of possibile Battered Woman Syndrome cited as an example. CK says but there was an element of violence seen between Susan and Jason as per yys info. CK says he was originally told that it was only a verbal fight. 

22 Nov 10:50

22 Nov 10:49
Defence wants to know why the private pathologist did not find the altered blood that CK says he found in Susan's stomach, and put in jug. CK says the blood was put back in Susan's body.

22 Nov 10:46

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