/ 11 April 2012

ET trial: Mortuary worker saw no semen

A mortuary worker who removed rightwing leader Eugene Terre’Blanche’s body from his house has denied seeing semen-like fluid on his genitals.

“If there was something there, yes, I would have seen it,” Gladys Lesenyego told the high court sitting in Ventersdorp on Wednesday.

Mahlangu and a teenager, who may not be named, are charged with beating Terre’Blanche to death in his farmhouse outside Ventersdorp, North West, in April 2010.

Both have pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Mahlangu has claimed he acted in self defence. The teenager has denied involvement in the crime.

Lesenyego testified that she was called to the scene at 8.20pm and removed the body just after 11pm.

She found Terre’Blanche in the bedroom, on his back, with clothes on.

“The body was full of blood and had lacerations. His shirt was open and the trousers were pulled down and you could see [his] private parts.”

She said she was not told about possible evidence on the body. If there had been anything to preserve, she would have done so, she told the court.

“I would have handled the body differently.”

Both defence teams cross-examined her, but Lesenyego maintained that there was no fluid when she collected the body. “I didn’t see it.”

She said it was unusual that she had access to the body only more than two hours after she arrived.

“I was only told that LCRC (local criminal record centre) was busy with photos and they still had to take the video.”

Investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Tsietsi Mano was earlier asked about fluid seen on Terre’Blanche’s genitals. “I never saw the body,” he said.

The body had been removed before he arrived at the house on the night of the murder. He said he saw it only during the post mortem.

“I asked the pathologist [if she had found semen] and she said no. I know for a fact I asked,” Mano said.

In October, pathologist Ruweida Moorad testified that Terre’Blanche’s body may have been wiped before the post mortem was done.

“Perhaps when it [the body] was transported in a body bag it [the semen] was wiped off. I honestly don’t know,” she said at the time.

The state was questioning her medical examination of Terre’Blanche. A substance believed to be semen was seen in photographs of his body taken at the crime scene.

The substance was not visible when Moorad carried out her examination, but it was visible in the photos.

She said the body had been refrigerated. Her post mortem was done on April 6 last year, three days after the murder.

Cross-examining Mano on Tuesday, Arendse said that if the semen on Terre’Blanche had been wiped off before the body was removed, it would mean someone had tampered with the evidence.

“If it was deliberately removed then it was a serious offence, because that part of the evidence would be crucial,” he said.

On Wednesday, Arendse maintained that the fluid was crucial to the case.

“If someone deliberately wiped that type of evidence away it is a very serious thing,” he said.

The trial continues. — Sapa