ACCUSED: Mortimer Saunders is on trial over the death of Courtney Pieters. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Further forensic testing hoping to reveal whether Courtney Pieters was raped before or after her death was presented in court by pathologist Professor Johan Dempers, but he found the result inconclusive.

The trial in which Mortimer Saunders stands accused of murdering the three-year-old Pieters was previously postponed for two days to allow additional testing on the decomposed neck and vaginal tissue. The test results confirmed that blood cells were found in the tested tissue. However, it still couldn’t reveal whether the blood was on the tissue before or after she was raped.

“With injury, red cells can leak postmortem. I confirm they are red cells, I can’t say they bled into the tissue the moment the person died.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that there is blood in the tissue, but whether blood is there before because of haemorrhage or altered after, I cannot say,” said Dempers.

Dempers who was the supervisor to Aloysia Ogle, who conducted the autopsy on Pieters, said he accompanied Ogle to the scene when Pieters body was found. He previously testified in court saying there was dark discolouration of vaginal tissue and deep lacerations found close to the opening of the vagina, which occurs when it’s stretched too far.

Dempers said the additional testing results supported his initial testimony that blood was found on Pieters’s neck and genitals, but he could not exclude her injuries happened ante-mortem.

The case was postponed to Monday.


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Cape Argus