'Multiple' injuries caused death of Swedish teen knocked down in Cape Town in 2016

2019-02-22 16:35
Aksel Otterbeck, 19, while volunteering (Supplied)

Aksel Otterbeck, 19, while volunteering (Supplied)

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Swedish national Aksel Otterbeck, 19, died as a result of multiple blunt force injuries after he and volunteers from other countries were knocked down in Table View in 2016, the Cape Town Regional Court heard on Friday.

Dr Diana Jaravaza was testifying in the case of Darryn Futter, who is accused of killing the teenager in Arum Road on the evening of December 14, 2016.

He has pleaded not guilty to charges of culpable homicide, driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless and/or negligent driving and assault.

Outside court, around 20 foreign nationals who were in the country on the same volunteering programme, called for justice and wore shirts bearing the slogans: "Make roads safe" and "You booze, you cruise, you lose". 

The protest was organised by South Africans Against Drunk Driving, which supports victims of accidents and advocates for fair trials.

'Extensive injuries'

Dressed smartly in the dock, Futter listened as Jaravaza listed the extensive internal and external injuries the teenager suffered during his last moments.

Jaravaza, who was a medical forensic officer at the Salt River mortuary at the time, conducted the post mortem and compiled a report, which was submitted to court.

"It is my opinion that the pattern and distribution of injuries [are] consistent with an individual who was upright at the time of impact with a motor vehicle and the impact was to the left side of the body, as exemplified by bumper fractures to the legs [on the left side]," she testified.

He suffered fatal injuries to the head, resulting from impact to the chin and/or the side of his head.

A fracture to his lower jaw completely separated the two halves of the bone, while the fractures at the base of his skull caused blood to enter his airways and lungs.

There were abrasions on the left side of his neck, indicating friction with another surface which removed superficial layers of the skin.

Referring to a photo in which Otterbeck was lying on his back, she said he had a "patterned, dark band" abrasion at the front.

"This abrasion would result from friction and impact with a patterned object, with part of an object that caused it to be well defined."

Prosecutor Ebrahim Adams commented: "Possibly a vehicle?" to which she nodded her head and said: "Yes."

"Also, he suffered significant injury to the front part of the body as demonstrated by fractures of the breastbone or sternum, with underlying heart and lung injury as well as significant injury to the liver."

After examining his heart and the membrane enclosing it, she found signs of haemorrhagic shock, which happens when people bleed rapidly.

No objection

Defence lawyer Keith Gess did not object to the post mortem report and its annexures.

In cross-examination, he said Jaravaza expressed an opinion about the pattern of injuries.

"The initial impact would have been to the left hand side of the body. You speak about the initial impact. Can subsequent impact also cause those [injuries]? he asked.

She said that was correct.

He had no further questions and she was excused.

Futter, who is out on bail, will return to court on May 28.

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