Murder accused asked doc to lie for her

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IOL LorettaCook40 THE STAR Loretta Cooke covers herself as she leaves the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - Loretta Cooke, who is accused of cutting open a woman to steal her unborn child, told a doctor she discovered the victim in a pool of blood.

This is according to Monday’s testimony by Dr Otillia Mazhindu, from Leratong Hospital in Krugersdorp, who examined Cooke just days after the alleged attack.

Cooke had her hoodie pulled over her head for most of her appearance in the South Gauteng High Court, sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court.

The trial has entered its second week.

Cooke is accused of murdering Valencia Behrens, who bled to death after allegedly being cut open by Cooke in January 2012.

Cooke is also charged with the attempted murder of the child, who survived the attack.

Mazhindu testified that during a consultation, Cooke had told her she had invited a pregnant woman to her home to give her a spare pram she had.

While this woman was in her home, Cooke heard the refuse removal truck outside and went to get her bins.

“When she came back, she found the lady in a pool of blood,” Mazhindu said, testifying about what she had been told.

Cooke’s legal representative, advocate Carla van Veenendaal, said her client denied she had told the doctor this.

Last week, Van Veenendaal told a State witness that Cooke had no recollection of the incident.

Cooke allegedly also told Mazhindu she was pregnant.

Mazhindu did an ultrasound scan and blood tests on Cooke to test for pregnancy. The results were negative.

“She was surprised and told me she had an ultrasound in October 2011 and she actually saw the foetus. She told me the pictures were at home,” the doctor testified.

Cooke also allegedly asked for a false medical report from Mazhindu when the doctor saw her again on January 12, two days after her first first.

Mazhindu said Cooke wanted the report to say she was examined on January 6, the day of the alleged attack.

“She told me she was being accused of killing someone and told me she wanted me to write my findings (on her pregnancy).”

“I told to her I had not examined her on the 6th, so I was not in a position to do so,” Mazhindu said.

The doctor said it was her expert opinion that Cooke had not been pregnant for some time before she examined her.

“Please describe to the court if it’s possible to have a miscarriage, but the body still continues to develop as though it is pregnant,” Van Veenendaal asked Mazhindu.

“It’s highly unlikely… the pregnant woman would stop feeling the baby moving and the body would naturally reject that baby.” This would usually happen after a few days, but could take up to a few weeks, the doctor said.

The trial continues.

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