Dear Mr Wolmarans
This open reply is in response to the posts on your blog aimed at discrediting us and our book Oscar vs the Truth. It also seems that you took a swipe at our book Bloody Lies.
We grant that the position of certain objects in our sketches may not be 100% accurate. The idea was simply to give an general overview of the crime scene and approximate positions in order to provide some context. We are not easily fooled and we can see that you are using an old defence tactic – to draw attention away from the real issues to irrelevant and unintentional inconsistencies – and then to try and blow them out of proportion. Smoke and mirrors. It worked with Oscar Pistorius and it worked with Fred van der Vyver. But it’s not going to work forever.
Some of your criticisms are simply laughable, such as the reference to the printed quality of the bail application in OVTT. We tried to publish the original paper version and actually went through a lot of digital trouble to get it into the best printable quality – but what is your issue here, really? Surely you can read it, so what is the problem, or are you simply scraping the bottom of the barrel? Then you go on to show various other things on the scene, all which is hardly relevant to the arguments in our book. Thank you for kindly pointing them out, but we really don’t care where all the fragments were scattered. Desperation is a funny thing, you know, Mr Wolmarans. Please keep your eye on the ball.
Let us look at your illustration below:
Are you serious that this is an accurate overlay? As a seasoned forensic “expert” you should know that the first rule of overlaying images is that they must be to the same scale. So if you are an honest objective expert then one can reasonably expect the scale of the vest in the image above to be about the same as the image representing Reeva’s body. Agree?
Why don’t we start with the dimensions of the vest? We know you had the photo below at your disposal – Photo 15 in your report. You would easily be able to determine the length of the vest using the scale ruler in the photo. The distance from the top of the shoulder strap to the bottom of the vest is about 66 cm. If we allow about 5 cm for the rounding of the bust then the bottom of the vest should extend to at least 61 cm below Reeva’s shoulders.
Now let us consider Reeva’s dimensions. According to the autopsy report Reeva was 175 cm tall. And also according to the autopsy report the bullet hit Reeva at distance of 92 cm from the base of the right heel. Therefore, from the top of Reeva’s head to the hip wound the distance is 83 cm. The autopsy report does not provide the distance from the top of the head to the shoulders. Fortunately, there are plenty of anthropometric data that the distance is consistently between 28 cm to 31 cm. Therefore, the distance between the shoulders and the hip wound is between 52 cm and 55 cm. Therefore, the vest should extend to about 6 to 9 cm below the hip wound – if it is superimposed correctly onto the body image.
Why is it then that in your image the vest stops a good distance above the hip wound? Did you have to do this to explain why there is no bullet hole in the vest that corresponds with the hip wound?
Even on your “overlay” above the wounds and holes do not align. The wounds are too far to the right in relation to the holes in the vest. But let’s forget about the alignment for now and look at the number of “holes” in the vest and the size of these holes vs. the number and sizes of the wounds on her chest.
(BTW: When you look at the photos of Reeva as she is lying downstairs, it is clear that the black vest was sitting quite loosely on her and not nearly as tightly as your overlay suggests.)
So, Mr Wolmarans, time for homework. Please take a pen and paper and take notes.
This is the so called fragment wound on Reeva’s chest. Please work out the size of this wound. Using the included ruler, it is easy to see the wound is mostly about 10 mm in diameter, with a slight elongation to 15 mm to the one side. So let’s make it 10 mm x 15 mm oval. There are two little secondary wounds to the top right of this wound (about 7 mm x 2 mm each), but we will primarily look a the main wound (the “primary wound” for further reference). So do you have the size of the primary wound? Please write it down.
Now let’s look at the size of the holes in the vest. Again, using the included ruler, we see that the two most prominent and larger holes are:
B – has a top tear and then a tear downwards, but in general it is about 20 mm x 25 mm.
A – as we will see on the image below this one, is more of a tear than a hole and is at least 20 mm long.
How big is the chest wound, Mr Wolmarans? Go check your notes. But wait, we’ll get back to this.
Should not be to difficult, Mr Wolmarans; how many holes do you see? How many wounds are there on her chest? If you are desperate you can count every single one but let’s keep it to the primary wound. There is one big wound and we see at least two big holes in the vest (both much bigger than the primary wound). So how did the fragment that made the primary wound make two holes in the vest – both holes being much bigger than the primary wound?
By now you probably get it that there are too many holes for the wounds and that the holes are also too big for the wound/s. Below is an ON-SCALE comparison of the wound vs the holes in vest. [If you do not know want an on-scale (1:1 comparison) is, we will gladly explain and teach it to you.]
So, Mr Wolmarans, how do you think the same fragment or even fragments that made the wounds, made those holes in the vest? (Same-alignment applies above and below.)
Are you still saying the holes in the vest fit the wounds?
The wounds are utterly incompatible and not reconcilable with the holes in the vest and they were most certainly not made in one and the same event and by the same object.
Look at the hole indicated by the yellow arrow and say again that that was made by an fragment. Look at the fringes. This is not the result of a fragment that cut through fabric.
It is abundantly clear that these are not holes made by a projectile but that they are tears (“skeure”) as a result of pulling on the material (i.e. stretching it after e.g. grabbing onto the material).
You say that these holes were made when the fragment exited the arm. You have the photo of that huge gaping arm wound. As the bullet exited the arm from this wound, it must have sprayed a substantial amount of blood, bone and tissue onto the vest before and while making the hole/s in the vest. And yet the areas immediately surrounding the large holes where the bullet supposedly entered, are clean?
Show us the blood and tissue, Mr Wolmarans, show us the blood and tissue!
(We are not saying there is absolutely no blood on the vest but given the scenario of the fragment going through the arm and then through the vest, one would expect much more blood on the vest, especially around the holes. Look at the clean fringes.)
(When looking at the photo straight above imagine the primary wound being about 10 mm in diameter and place it in this “hole”. The wound would simply be way too small.)
Reeva did not wear the vest at the time of the shooting. Period.
So, you say one of the circled little edges made wound on Reeva’s back? Below is a photo from your blog.
Below is an approximate scaled comparison.
There are many problems here. Unless the rack stood right against the wall when she fell on it, it would have moved on impact and would have alleviated/dissipated impact significantly. But more importantly, the back would likely first (or at least also) make contact with the green circled part – not only lessening impact in your red circle but bumping the rack away on impact. And then you would also get bruising or a mark where the green circled area hit the back.
As you will see below, it is highly improbable to make contact only at B without the body also touching A and C. Except for a smaller wound only about 2 cm below the bigger wound, there are no marks or bruises above or below the bigger wound. You can also imagine that if she fell downward onto the rack there would be a longer abrasion upward as her buttocks were still travelling to the floor. Or do you think the back would make impact and then suddenly move away from the rack? Or what? The back would maintain contact as the direction of impact is to the back wall and downward, this would lead to more significant bruising and wounding upward. If she made impact while her buttock were on the floor already, the impact of the red circled areas would be to high relative to the back (considering where the wounds were made).
We are not arguing a straight line as in a straight fixed object touching the rack in this area, but simply that when your back hits B it will hit at least A too (and first and probably harder, as it is the first point of impact considering a fall backward and downward from the door’s side). Point being, you can’t look at the red circled areas in isolation. Falling against this part of the rack will likely result in a longer linear abrasion and not as concentrated.
But there is one very simple thing that blows your rack theory out of the water.
You can go check the autopsy photos, which you surely have. On various photos it is abundantly clear that the skin is pressed downward. Also, the bruising is below the striations (clearly the point of impact). This tells you that whatever made the wound made impact from TOP TO BOTTOM. It pressed the skin downward and caused bruising as the object moved from top to bottom on the skin. Can you agree with this? If you can’t, sorry, then we can’t help you.
Above: Bruising below the striations and skin pressed downwards
Now, get your notepad again and answer this question for yourself. It is not a trick question and should be able to figure it out yourself. When you fall against anything, a chair, a magazine rack, a toilet seat, anything, in which direction would the skin be pressed? Answer it for yourself and make the sums. We really do not want to think for you.
Do you deny that a cricket bat can also be classified as a blunt object?
Next we would like to talk to you about the following statements in your testimony. You must know that any opinion produced by an expert must be based on facts and not on assumptions, conjecture and speculation.
“The breaking of the toilet door by the cricket bat. I agree with Colonel Vermeulen that the cricket bat was used to strike the upper door panel of the toilet door in order to break the door open. I also agree with Colonel Vermeulen that the door was first damaged by the four shots that perforated the door and thereafter by the cricket bat. This is illustrated in photo 29 below, showing what the damage to the door would look like if the door was first damaged by the cricket bat and thereafter by a bullet.” M'Lady, that is on the next page, page 29 and you can see it is in a straight line, everything with the bullet hole in the middle. That is the shot that you fired at the meranti door? --- That is correct, M'Lady. When the door was first cracked and then you fired the shot. --- The door was first cracked and then the shots was fired
How could you agree with Vermeulen? As an “expert” you must have known that Vermeulen made a mistake and that he rendered an opinion that he did not and could not back up with any evidence whatsoever. Please read more here. Other than agreeing with Vermeulen, what other facts did you base your opinion on that all the bat strikes came after the gunshots? Your “shooting into a meranti door” experiment? All that this useless experiment could possibly prove is that the crack developed after the gunshots – and at most it proves that the panel was broken out after the gunshots. How does it prove that all the bat strikes came after the gun shots? If this is so please point us to the cracks that run into holes A, B, and C – or bat marks on top of these holes?
If you cannot provide this evidence are you ready to admit that you misled the court?
You also seem to think that our book Bloody Lies is fiction and full of lies. Did you read the book? Yes it is full of lies – the lies told by the experts that testified in the defence of Fred van der Vyver who stood accused of murdering his girlfriend. Would you like to sit down with forensic pathologists Wagner, Liebenberg, Knobel and Martin and explain them why they are wrong in supporting the Molletts? Or with Prof Visser from the University of Stellenbosch and Prof Theron from the University of Pretoria whose independent analyses support our findings? Or even better can you reproduce Pat Wertheim’s test lifts without trickery? Or perhaps you can ask your beer buddy Roger Dixon why he committed perjury when he told the court he met with Const Swartz – whilst he never did? Or why don’t you ask the judge why he accepted Roger Dixon Section 212 affidavit as prima facie evidence why independent legal opinion has it that the affidavit should have been inadmissible because it did comply with Section 212 of the Criminal Procedure Act?
You didn’t testify to assist the court – you testified only to assist your paying client, Oscar Pistorius. You failed in your duty as an expert witness.
You know, Mr Wolmarans, they say that even if a person has 50 years experience, if he does not move with the times, then he’s just having his first year 50 times over and over again. It is time for you to move on.
The fact that you visited the scene means nothing. As a minimum you should first and foremost apply some basic common sense.
One request Mr Wolmarans, what do you say about all the damage to the bedroom door? This is now since you have been on the scene yourself. Or is it just convenient for you to ignore this? And just a last thing, you say you tested the light conditions in the room; that it would have been PITCH DARK in the room. We are not going to argue with you about the length of the curtains and the balcony light, but just one question: where is your evidence, or must we simply take your word? You’re an expert not providing reports, it seems. How convenient.
Oscar vs The Truth is now also available at mollettmedia.com