Pornthip rules out suicide

By Neville Spykerman and Boo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Aug 18 — Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand maintained today that she is sure Teoh Beng Hock’s death last year was not a suicide, but she declined to repeat her previous assertion that it was 80 per cent a homicide.

“I still maintain my findings on pre-fall injuries. I cannot confirm he was conscious during the fall.

“I will not go into percentage. I am sure it is not suicide,” she told the coroner’s court here under questioning from the Selangor government’s lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.

Dr Pornthip was testifying for the second time at the inquest into DAP political aide Teoh’s death. Teoh is suspected to have fallen from the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam, then state headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Before his body was found on a fifth floor landing he had been questioned overnight by the MACC.

Earlier today in court, Dr Pornthip testified that she disagreed with the findings of Dr Peter Vanezis, the British forensic pathologist brought in by the MACC to observe Teoh’s second post mortem last year. Dr Pornthip was also an observer.

“I still believe he was unconscious because there is no significant pathology to show he was conscious (when he fell),” she said, adding there were no signs of bilateral wrist fractures, so “I cannot confirm he was fully conscious.”

She disagreed with Dr Vanezis that Teoh broke his fall with his feet because she said there were no fractures on both ankles and wrists.

Dr Pornthip also disagreed with Dr Vanezis’s finding that neck injuries were caused by impact of fall. She pointed out that the neck was a protected area.

She said she found hemorrhaging on the neck which was bigger than what would have been caused by a fall. She and her staff reviewed 30 other cases at her institute and they did not find similar injuries.

She concluded it was impossible that the wound was caused by the fall.

On Teoh’s spinal injuries, she reviewed six cases at her institute and found no contusion under the skin as was the case with Teoh.

As such, she concluded that it was a pre-fall injury which was more severe than a manual strangulation.

The wound, she said, was caused by a blunt object which could be something pressed against Teoh’s head or neck.

The injury to Teoh’s anal region was also caused by a blunt object, she said.

As the second post-mortem showed severe fractures to Teoh’s pelvis which could have caused Teoh’s anus to be torn, she concluded that his anal injuries were a result of the fall and not from any beating.