Worst head trauma I have ever seen,’ doctor testifies

Estelle Ellis

THE doctor who tried desperately to save Cobi Venter’s life after she was brutally beaten when she and her husband were attacked on their Theescombe smallholding has told the Port Elizabeth High Court he will never forget the case as it involved some of the worst head trauma he had encountered in his career.

Dr Walter Fitzgerald was testifying in the trial of Vernol Fillis, 39, Mbulelo Breakfast, 31, Vuyo Plaatjies, 33, of Greenbushes, Makwenkwe Lunga Pamle, 24, Lukhanyo Bolo, 24, of Kuyga, and Zonwabo Kilani, 24, of KwaNoxolo.

The men have all pleaded not guilty to charges of housebreaking with the intent to rob and robbery, murder, kidnapping and rape.

According to the indictment, the accused attacked George Venter, 78, and his wife Cobi in their home on the night of May 31 2009 or early morning of June 1.

George was discovered in the lounge lying in a pool of his own blood the next morning. He had been beaten to death.

Cobi, 67, died 10 days later of massive head injuries.

Fitzgerald said Cobi was wearing a blood-stained top and a gown when she was brought in to casualty.

Both her eye sockets had been smashed, her nose was broken, she suffered severe injuries to her face and had a 12cm superficial cut to her neck. She had cuts above both eyes.

Her ribs and chest were bruised as were one of her knees and thighs.

Fitzgerald said that because of her massive head injuries she spoke incoherently and they were not able to ascertain her emotional state.

He said a CAT-scan revealed several brain injuries.

She had several cuts to the small of her back “as if she was dragged over broken glass”, Fitzgerald said.

He said he was told by colleagues that Cobi died 10 days later.

Warrant-Officer Phillip Bekker, an expert criminalist who specialises in the forensic analysis of crime scenes, testified yesterday that a pair of shoes, allegedly belonging to Pamle, made some of the bloody shoeprints found on the scene.

The trial continues today.

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