Grim catalogue of Marilyn Stebuys’ injuries

It is alleged Stebuys killed his wife after he suspected her of cheating

A broken jaw, fractures to the skull and neck and excessive internal and external bleeding not only contributed to the death of Marilyn Stebuys in Humansdorp, but also evidenced the excessive force used in the assault on her.

These were among the injuries detailed in the Port Elizabeth High Court where the trial of Dene Stebuys, 43, – accused of bludgeoning his 38-year-old wife to death with a rock – continued on Wednesday.

Stebuys, charged with the June 2016 murder of his wife and an assault on her friend, sat quietly in the dock listening intently while a state witness, forensic pathologist Dr Celeste Herbst, read out the long list of injuries.

“The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the face, head and neck,” Herbst said.

She conducted the postmortem and compiled a forensic report three days after the brutal attack in an open field near Vaaldam, Humansdorp.

Injuries included a broken jaw, skull and neck fractures and excessive external and internal bleeding, Herbst said.

“To break the jaw, excessive force must have been used, either through repetitive force to the jaw or by a heavy blunt object,” she said.

It is alleged that Stebuys killed his wife after he suspected her of cheating on him.

Two eyewitnesses who were walking between the Maak n Las sports centre and Vaaldam on June 6 2016 testified earlier that they had seen a man sitting on the ground hitting something.

When they neared him, they noticed a person’s legs.

After passing the scene and looking back, they had seen the man continuing to hit the person with a rock or stone.

Prosecutor Ishmet Cerfontein handed in to court a rock – about the size of a large orange – which was allegedly used in the attack.

When asked by Cerfontein if the rock could have been the weapon used, Herbst said it was heavy enough and had the irregular edges which could have caused the injuries.

Herbst said it was possible Marilyn had still been alive for a few minutes after the attack as blood found in her oesophagus and stomach could only have got there if she had swallowed.

Stebuys pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife and assault on her friend, Jonathan Gabani, who was with her at the time of her murder.

It is the second time Stebuys is standing trial for the attack and murder after judge Phakamisa Tshiki recused himself from the case due to health reasons shortly before the conclusion of the trial.

The trial has since started afresh, meaning all the witnesses who had previously testified, including two of Stebuys’s children, had to be recalled to give evidence.