Bizarre Explanations

Everything about this case is sad. There is really no reason to laugh or to make light of a very sensitive situation. So many people simply messed it up. Some explanations and theories by experts bordered on the bizarre. But, in many cases it may well prod you into a chuckle.

Let us look at only a few very challenging explanations and theories.

1. Michael Grimm’s theory about the fact that, according to him, the head wounds were inflicted by a semi-automatic handgun, must be top of the list. He says that four parts of a handgun – notably the barrel portion, back strap, magazine end, and the muzzle end – caused the headwounds. Please note, not by shooting, but by hitting, he says.

Grimm felt that random blows with these circled parts lead to wounds looking like this:

While these are not all the wounds, it is clear that there were two distinct shapes – round and linear. How would four parts of gun cause such signature wounds? Given all the permutations of impact angles and impact surfaces, how would you get such paring? How do you hold a gun in such an attack? Would the attack with a gun cause blood spatter to fly metres – such as onto the balcony door’s curtain? Would it cause a deep skull fracture behind the left ear? Would it cause profuse bleeding?

But what is simply ridiculous about Grimm’s theory, is that according to him, there were oily marks on the towel in the bathroom, caused by a handgun that was wiped clean with it. Leaving oil or gunpowder residu marks behind. Now, we must remember the attack was bloody and it was gruesome. Whatever the weapon was, it had to be full of blood. Now Grimm wants us to believe that the murderer wiped this bloody weapon in such a way that only the oil and/or residu came off. One would think that it would rather be a oily/bloody mix that came off onto the towel. Or does he want us to believe that the murderer wiped an oily gun before the attack? Under what circumstances would one walk around with a oily gun, and then rather to hit than shoot somebody with it?

Grimm was also the expert who said that a part of Inge’s flesh was bitten off, then the bloody skin was dropped onto the bathroom floor, picked up, and then flushed down the toilet. Wertheim was/is an ardent supporter of Grimm’s theories and they even flaunted these theories widely. However, Grimm did testify in court. Here is his full Report on this:

Grimm’s efforts hardly justify any attention.

2. Prof Gert Saayman even said that a torch (the thing you shine light with) could have inflicted these wounds. Saayman maintained that the hammer was only but a small little thing (“’n klein ou hamertjie”), and he felt it could not do much damage to the skull.

3. In order to explain why the “lip print” is not “complete” (see below).

Zeelenberg tells us this:

Zeelenberg goes on to tell us why lip prints will generally be sloped. Read more about the above slide and his theory here:

Now, before one simply laughs at this, handle a glass yourself. Fill it with water and drink from it. You will note that the glass touching your nose is simply never a concern. If you keep your head straight, like in the above photo, and you tilt the glass to such an extent that the glass touches the nose, then by this time all the water would have been spilled, or you would have swallowed all the water. When you bring the glass to your mouth you start tilting it already, and when it touches your bottom lip, you tilt it further over your lip and simultaneously start tilting your head slightly backwards. This is done to provide flow momentum and an angle for the water to stream down towards the throat. Thus, you simply tilt the glass and your head in order to get the fluid in your mouth and down your throat, that’s it. There is no reason to be bothered by your nose, and surely there is no reason that any of this should cause an incomplete lip print.

Try and determine for yourself what it would take to get an incomplete lip print when you drink from a glass. Under what circumstances will a part of the lip not touch the glass up to the rim when you roll the glass over the lip to get the fluid in your mouth? (it is also to be noted that the end of the “lip print” on Folien 1 is also quite abrupt and very defined, with a “tip” protruding to the side and downwards, not upwards towards the rim.)

Zeelenberg’s explanation for the sloped lip because of some compensating action by your arm/hand, is also hard to swallow. A human’s hand and fingers are excellent in stabilising an object. When you pick up a glass it is natural to keep the rim as parallel as possible to the ground level (thus horizontal) before lifting it in a controlled way vertically to your mouth. By subtle stretching or retraction of fingers and by wrist movements, the glass is held in the “safest” possible way, not to spill, not to slip out of your hands, etc. Unless there is a very specific reason or intention, there should be no reason for you to put a glass skew in your mouth. Why would you? Why should you?

4. For the next piece of absurdity, we quickly need to recap. Director Ruben Botha, who wrote a report on Daan Bekker’s report, said that the curvature of the top line of Folien 1 was possibly due to rubbing over the top edge of the DVD. In order to refute Botha, Zeelenberg came up with this jewel:

Slide 68 (Part 1)

Now, remember that, as Swartz testimony would have it, he (Swartz) put a foline on a DVD cover, and that the top of the foline stuck over the top edge of the DVD by about 1 cm. Botha then said that when Swartz rubbed the foline on the edge area, it may have contributed to the formation of the curved line. Zeelenberg now construed the word “rubbing” to “pressure”. Botha never used the word “pressure”. In order to show that “pressure” on a foline would not . . . (we simply do not know what he wanted to prove because he did not put the foline on any edge), he puts a foline on a glass plate and put a heavy ball and a rail (of “over 10 kg”) on the foline.

It is extremely hard to comprehend what Zeelenberg was trying to do here and what the relevance is. Surely he should have at least tested either rubbing or pressure with a foline on a DVD cover. Not a foline in the middle of a glass plate.

5. In an astounding announcement Zeelenberg proclaims that “Condensation in practise impossible with DVD, so cover is not object of origin of Folien 1 for this reason alone!” Please note his exclamation mark.

This is how his finding came about: Zeelenberg simply decided that the lip was put on condensation. Period. No proof and not even deterred by his own experiments (of which he included photos in his report) that condensation would not significantly go above the water line. [Therefore it is highly unlikely that there would have been condensation in that upper area where the lip had to be placed. The lip prints on condensation that he shows (on flat plates not drinking glasses) do not look anything like the Folien 1 print – especially relating to the texture thereof. See below.]

Slide 7 (Part 2) – Zeelenberg shows us a few lip prints on glass plates. Even on this slide, it is evident that there is a major difference in the shape of his prints and the Folien 1 “lip print” (see image to the far right). His prints are round and the ends show upward. The Folien 1 print is flat and incomplete, with a tip tilting downwards, away from the rim.

Our tests have shown that there is not a significant difference in lip prints on glass plates and drinking glasses. It is, however, interesting that Zeelenberg does not rather show us lip prints on drinking glasses but instead on flat glass plates. But, also, if we look at the texture: Our tests, which can be verified, have shown that the innermost part of a lip print on a wet surface – the middle part closer to the rim (where the softer and more moist part of the inner side of the lip touched the glass) – may show some droplets, but the outer part will have a denser texture (as Zeelenberg’s examples actually show), although the outlines will not be as defined as the Folien 1 print. Zeelenberg’s own lip examples also show some ridge detail. But, according to him, condensation would obliterate detail. What now?

Anyway, now he put a DVD in a fridge, and when the DVD did not show any condensation, he conclusively ruled the DVD out! The lip could only have been put on an object that can condense. A glass could condense but not a DVD, therefore the DVD could not in any way have been the source of Folien 1, he argued. Thing is just, where is the evidence that it was put on condensation in the first place? There are no signs on Folien 1 that there was widespread wetness on the object it was lifted from. Condensation or spillage would have obliterated other prints and marks, such as the dried drop marks. And it would most possibly have demonstrated run marks of some sorts. Anyway, what is remarkable, is how Zeelenberg could establish a certain premise (without proper substantiation), and use this flawed premise to exclude an object. It is a fundamentally flawed and misleading way of conducting experiments and coming to a scientifically based conclusion. If he could have proved that there was evidence of condensation recording or influence on Folien 1 in the first place, then his method might have had merit. Slide 7 surely is not not conclusive substantiation for the premise he used to exclude the DVD.

Let us remind ourselves how wet latex on plastic textures look like:

Obviously the fullness and size of the print will depend on the size of the finger as well as how tight or loose the glove sat on the finger. It is not an exact science to reproduce such a print, and you will never get exact copies of a particular print. But the texture is telling, and it also explains the incomplete print, as well as the slope. Zeelenberg did not want to go here.

Dear reader, these experts live and operate among us. Please be alert and attentive to nonsense like this that is perpetuated in our Courts. On top of that, they get paid a heap.

Open Letter to Arie Zeelenberg

Open Letter to Pat Wertheim

Open Letter to Roger Dixon