Family mourns as murder details revealed
IT was a sombre time in the Port Alfred regional court last Thursday when, once more, murder-accused Tonny Donile appeared before magistrate Louis Muller, this time to hear the account of state witness Dr Stuart Dwyer, the chief forensic medical officer in Grahamstown.
In his position Dwyer examined the body of murder victim Noel Maddocks on August 10 2016, the day of the murder, and drew conclusions as to how the former owner of IT Solutions Coastal died. Photographic evidence of the crime scene and the victim’s body during two post-mortem examinations were shared by the defence and the prosecution and used in evidence.
Unlike at other appearances, the courtroom was virtually empty, with only Maddocks’ family and close friends present, plus a few supporting Donile who had to endure Dwyer’s harrowing account of the wounds inflicted on Maddocks on that fateful night.
First, prosecutor Johan Carstens had Dwyer describe the stab wounds on the deceased’s body – a total of 47 stab wounds – although Dwyer stated that some of the wounds were so close that there may have been more that remained unidentified. Some knife-wounds were deep enough to have penetrated both lungs, damaged the liver and the spleen. One of the two stab wounds on the victim’s neck had severed the spinal cord. Apparently the tears in the skin indicated that the knife used was not very sharp.
In total at least seven deep penetrating wounds were identified, any one of which would have caused death.
Dwyer described how these wounds had penetrated Maddocks’ body with such force they had left marks where the hilt of the knife had made contact with the skin.
“The lung penetrations were caused by extreme force,” said Dwyer.
There were wounds to the head, sides and front, that caused subdural haemorrhage (brain bleed) and bleeding was observed at the nose and ears and black eyes were all indications that the victim had been throttled. There were multiple fractures to the chest area and indications that the victim had been kicked, and there was a compound fracture to the left leg (where the bone had broken through the skin).
Throughout Dwyer’s evidence, Donile passed notes onto his defence advocate, Mark Botha, working under instruction of attorney Viwe Mqeke. When Carstens had completed his examination it was Botha’s turn to cross-examine Dwyer, and certain terms that had been used in the first post-mortem examination such a “lacerated” as well as the non-medical term “cut” were brought into question.
Botha said that Donile insisted the blunt force trauma to the victim’s face and head were not caused by the bloodied brick found at the scene by the victim’s head. Botha asked Dwyer if it were possible the blunt force trauma to the head could have been caused by fists and not the brick and Dwyer conceded it was possible.
However, on the subject of the compound fractures to the leg, Botha asked if it were possible the injury was caused by rolling between the benches when Donile and Maddocks were grappling together.
Dwyer said that, due to the absence of blood on any of the benches in the photographs it was unlikely to be the cause of the breaks.
“There would have been a lot of blood at the scene, and I do not see any evidence that the benches were the cause of the wounds,” said Dwyer. But he had to concede that, unlikely as it was, it was possible the benches were the cause of the compound fracture.
Dwyer was finally done with his evidence and magistrate Muller held the case over until June 13 and also reserved June 14 and 15 if required to finalise the case. In the meantime, Donile will remain in custody in Grahamstown where he has been since August 2016.