Grisly details of Marike de Klerk's murder

A pathologist has told the Cape High Court that no sperm was discovered in forensic tests on the body of murdered former first lady Marike de Klerk.

Professor Gideon Knobel, head of forensic medicine at the University of Cape Town, said however this did not exclude the possibility of sexual penetration.

He was testifying on Tuesday in the trial of Luyanda Mboniswa, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of raping and murdering De Klerk on the night of December 2 last year.

The rape count was added to the charge sheet only last week, after internationally acclaimed expert on violence against women Dr Lorna Martin examined Knobel’s post-mortem report.

Knobel told the court that no contusions or cuts were visible on De Klerk’s external genitalia, but there had been “reddish areas” on the back wall of the vagina.

He could not exclude the possibility that this was caused by injury from a penis.

No sperm was found in De Klerk, but this did not exclude vaginal penetration which could have taken place without ejaculation.

It was also reportedly becoming more and more common for rapists to wear condoms, apparently because they knew that if they ejaculated without a condom their DNA could be linked to the incident.

Knobel had been told by the police forensic science laboratory that traces of prostatic acid phosphatase, a substance produced by the male prostate and also in low concentrations by the female vagina, had been discovered in specimens taken from De Klerk.

He had not been told whether tests had been done to establish the origin of the acid in this case.

Knobel said that when he did his autopsy, he found that two “horns” of the thyroid cartilage, or voice box, were fractured, as were two small bones slightly higher in the throat.

“In my opinion considerable force would have been necessary to fracture all four structures,” he said.

He found a stab wound on De Klerk’s left shoulder blade, which had a broken knife blade still in it, bruises on the head consistent with a “severe assault”, along with scratches, bruising of the deep muscles of the neck and haemmoraging inside the right


Knobel also told the court that changes to De Klerk’s brain and lung indicated that she was still alive for a while after her system was starved of oxygen “but I cannot say for how long”.

Earlier on Tuesday former state president F W de Klerk took the stand to identify possessions allegedly stolen from his murdered ex-wife. - Sapa


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