Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pathologist: Teoh may have jumped


SHAH ALAM: Teoh Beng Hock may have committed suicide by jumping out of a 14th floor window of the Plaza Masalam here, a forensic pathologist told the inquest into his death.

Dr Khairul Azman Ibrahim, the Klang Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital (HTAR) senior consultant pathologist, said there were signs indicating Teoh may have deliberately jumped out of the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commissions (MACC) office last month.

He was replying to questions posed by government-appointed counsel Tan Hock Chuan on whether Teoh’s death was a homicide, accident or suicide.

Tan: In your opinion based on the post-mortem results, visits to the scene of the incident on July 16 and 22, toxicology and DNA results; is it likely the death of the deceased was a suicide?

Dr Khairul Azman: In my opinion there are signs which indicate this.

Firstly there were no clear signs of a struggle, no bloodstains or things strewn around on the floor, he said.

“A pen (an MACC pen) was also intact in his pocket and there were no MACC officers’ DNA detected in the DNA tests (carried out on his blazer and belt). His injuries did not show any struggle and were consistent with a fall from a high place,” he said.

Dr Khairul Azman also said the death could not have been accidental as “it is highly unlikely for someone with a conscious state of mind to slip and fall while standing by the window”.

“This is because the area is not slippery and is carpeted. However, if going on a probability, we can still think about it because it could happen if the deceased had tried to open the window as wide as possible while feeling sleepy,” said Dr Khairul Azman.

However, he noted that the argument that Teoh had accidentally fallen or slipped and plunged out of the window could be challenged due to the height of the window shoulder, which was about waist high.

“In the event he had fallen, there is a great possibility the deceased would have landed head first or body first,” he said. Forensic investigations indicated Teoh had landed on his feet.

Teoh, who was the political secretary to Selangor executive council member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead at 1.30pm on July 16, at Plaza Masalam’s fifth floor service corridor.

Dr Khairul Azman also ruled out the possibility that Teoh may have suffocated or been unconscious as toxicology tests indicated he had not been under the influence of common drugs or alcohol.

DNA tests carried out on the bloodstains found on his clothes also revealed that it was his own blood, he said.

On whether Teoh could have been dragged prior to his death, Dr Khairul Azman said there was no clear signs to indicate this.

On the DNA of two unknown males found on Teoh’s belt and blazer that did not match any of the 157 people sampled, Dr Khairul Azman said it could have come from the HTAR mortuary.

“I believe it must have come from contamination when the deceased’s clothes were removed at the mortuary,” he added.

The inquest before coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas continues on Monday.

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