Tuesday, August 18, 2009

He may have been alive momentarily

SHAH ALAM: Teoh Beng Hock may have been alive momentarily when he landed on the fifth floor service corridor of Plaza Masalam after falling from the 14th floor.

This was revealed when counsel representing the Bar Council Rajpal Singh questioned forensic pathologist Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim about Teoh’s palms, which were clenched.

“Maybe he was in pain. It is possible he was alive and felt intense pain and clenched his fists before he died,” Dr Khairul Azman told the inquest into Teoh’s death.

Rajpal asked Dr Khairul Azman if there was a possibility that Teoh was semi-conscious when he fell as he had not bitten or bruised his tongue due to impact of the fall.

Earlier, counsel representing the Selangor government Malik Imtiaz Sarwar showed Dr Khairul Azman a picture of Teoh’s left hand and asked whether it indicated cadaveric spasm.

(Cadaveric spasm is a type of stiffening of the muscles that occurs at the moment of death and is usually associated with violent deaths.)

Dr Khairul Azman said there was a possibility that it was, adding that Teoh may have also tried to grab on to something when falling.

Malik Imtiaz: Are you suggesting that he was conscious when he fell?

Dr Khairul Azman: Yes, there are signs.

Malik Imtiaz: Based on the fracture report, there doesn’t seem to be any injury to the wrists. Is there a possibility that there were no reaction?

Dr Khairul Azman: Possibly.

Questioned by counsel Gobind Singh Deo, Dr Khairul Azman said Teoh’s remains were found “a good distance away” from the window as evidence indicated that he had jumped off the building.

“We have to consider several things. If there were a struggle, there would have been signs. If pushed, he would have plunged straight down and not at the distance his body was found.”

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