Teoh inquest: 80pc chance of homicide, says Thai expert

(The Star) – There is an 80% chance that the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock was caused by homicide, the coroner’s court was told Wednesday.

Based on her examination of the autopsy reports and pictures of the site, Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand said she believed there is only a 20% chance that Teoh had committed suicide.

Testifying at the inquest into Teoh’s death, Dr Pornthip said that not all injuries on the body were consistent with a fall from a height.

She said that marks around his neck could mean that he was strangled, while the injury to his anus was caused by penetration with an object before his fall.

His skull fracture was not typical of an injury from a fall but was more compatible with blunt force being applied directly to the skull, she said.

She said that Teoh was probably alive when he hit the ground but may have been unconscious before the fall.

Dr Pornthip told court she has conducted more than 10,000 autopsies, of which about 100 dealt with fatal falls from a high place.

She put the time of death at between 6am and 8am, July 16.

The renowned and flamboyant Dr Pornthip is the director and co-founder of the Thai Justice Ministry’s Central Institute of Forensic Science.

She is well-known for her prowess in cracking open complicated homicide cases and is a celebrity of sorts in her homeland.

She is the author of Investigation of Corpses which sold 100,000 copies in Thailand, and also led a group of international forensic scientists in 2004 to identify the remains of the Asian tsunami victims.

Her life and work was narrated in a National Geographic documentary entitled Crime Scene Bangkok in 2004.

Teoh, the 30-year-old political secretary to Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah, had been summoned to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission office at the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam to be questioned over the irregular disbursement of state funds on July 15.

He was found dead on the fifth floor service corridor of the building the following day.