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Murdered teenager Louise de Waal was alive when she was set alight, the High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court, in Alberton, heard on Wednesday.
Forensic specialist Gina Rowe testified that soot and blood-stained froth were found in De Waal's trachea and bronchi.
“It was inhaled into her lungs.”
Judge Sita Kolbe asked if De Waal was alive for this to happen.
Rowe answered: “It would have been an indication of life”.
De Waal's mother Shereen gasped, putting her hands over her mouth.
Johannes Jacobus Steyn, dubbed the “Sunday Rapist”, is accused of murdering school girls De Waal and Lazanne Farmer.
He is also charged with 11 counts of rape, 10 of sexual assault, 10 of kidnapping, one of attempted sexual assault, one of attempted kidnapping, and two of assault.
The 11 girls he allegedly attacked between 2008 and 2011 were all aged between 11 and 18.
The 36-year-old has pleaded not guilty to all 37 charges against him.
Rowe said there was not a lot of soot in De Waal's trachea, and therefore it was possible that she had been unconscious.
Rowe explained the findings of the post-mortem, including De Waal's badly burnt scalp and protruding tongue. Her left foot was burnt off her body and the soft tissue was burnt off her lower legs.
As Rowe paged through the booklet containing the photographs of De Waal's body, a family member shielded Shereen's eyes.
“Don't look, don't look,” she was told as the images became visible to the public gallery.
Before Rowe's testimony Kolbe asked Shereen if she would like to leave the court before the findings of the post-mortem were heard.
“I want to stay. I'll get up if I have to,” Shereen answered.
During a trial-within-a-trial on Wednesday the admissibility of a statement given by Steyn on October 14, 2011, in Krugersdorp after his arrest, was called into question.
Steyn's lawyer Anton Lerm argued his client was forced into making an incriminating statement to a magistrate.
“If he did not play along he would have been tortured.”
During his questioning of investigating officer Peet du Toit, Lerm said Du Toit had promised Steyn if he made a statement and pleaded guilty, he would receive a short trial.
Du Toit replied: “Your honour, that is totally false.”
Lerm said that en route from Margate, where Steyn handed himself over to police, to Krugersdorp, his client was left in an idling police vehicle with weapons inside.
He argued this was done to provoke Steyn to escape. Du Toit denied knowledge of this.
Lerm said the police docket and what Steyn should say to the magistrate were discussed with him beforehand.
Steyn feared he would be tortured if he did not co-operate.
Du Toit replied: “I find that totally absurd. He had a smile on his face (when he was brought in). He was cool and calm. He greeted everyone by hand... He was not nervous. He said he wanted to clear his heart and was glad it was over.”
The trial was postponed for cross-examination and the conclusion of the trial-within-a-trial on Thursday. - Sapa