IN what could have been mistaken for a scene out of a horror movie, a top plastic surgeon showed clips to the court of what Avril Gordon looked like when she was referred to him for treatment on March 26 last year.
Dr Conrad Hoekstra told the Port Elizabeth Regional Court yesterday that without treatment, Avril would have ended up looking “grotesque”.
Avril, 53, was allegedly so badly tortured by her husband Frederick Gordon that she had to undergo reconstructive surgery to her head, face and some parts of her body.
Gordon, a 42-year-old ex-air force official, has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape, attempted murder and kidnapping.
oekstra said Avril would have suffered immense pain in sustaining the injuries he treated.
It is alleged Gordon locked Avril up in their tiny Forest Hill flat for several months between 2010 and last year, during which time he allegedly beat her with broken pieces of wood and metal chains, allegedly burnt her with hot liquids, and raped her with sharp objects. Neighbours eventually reported her cries to the police.
Hoekstra treated Avril between March 26 and April 14 last year.
Using a power point presentation yesterday, he gave a detailed explanation of Avril’s injuries to the court.
He said the first surgery was conducted on March 28 and lasted about four hours.
The most obvious injuries were to her face and hands.
Chest X-rays confirmed that Avril had a broken rib, while the healed ribs showed evidence that they had been broken more than once before.
Hoekstra said because the fractures were left untreated, they eventually healed themselves. However, repetitive trauma meant they were later broken at a different spot.
He said the blunt trauma to her chest also caused internal bleeding of the lungs and a build-up of fluid on the chest, which was potentially life threatening.
“There was absolutely no sign of prior medical attention. The wounds that were healed obviously healed by themselves. The injuries caused her to be acutely ill. She should have been admitted to hospital immediately, especially with the chest injuries.”
He said she must have been in excruciating pain.
Due to cost issues, Avril was later referred to a military hospital in Bloemfontein.
“I did suggest further treatment which would be expensive. She needed to have her teeth repaired, which would require implants, and further surgery to the nose. But with a lack of tissue on the nose it would be impossible to get a perfect result.
“She also needed intense therapy on her hands in order to regain mobility.”
He said Gordon’s version, that Avril was injured in a mugging in early March last year, was improbable.
He said because there were both old and new wounds, it was unlikely they were caused by just one incident. Meanwhile, gynaecologist Dr Anton Greeff said Avril’s injuries were consistent with sexual abuse.
Trial was postponed to tomorrow, when Avril is expected to testify.