15 May 2012

Pathologist says sexual assault only explanation for girl's death

5:49 pm on 15 May 2012

A pathologist who conducted the post-mortem on ten-year-old Charlene Makaza has told the High Court in Christchurch that sexual assault is the only explanation for all of her injuries.

George Gwaze, 60, is on trial for the sexual violation and murder of Miss Makaza in January 2007.

The Crown says the girl died after a forceful sexual attack by the accused, but the defence says she died of toxic shock arising from her HIV.

Pathologist Martin Sage told the High Court on Tuesday that Miss Makaza died from brain damage and blunt force injuries to her genitals and the obvious cause of that would be sexual assault.

He said there were signs of HIV damage to her organs, but it was implausible that she would go from seemingly well at night, to almost dead by dawn due to HIV.

He said there were clear injuries to her genitals, but this alone also did not explain the death.

Dr Sage said there were signs of asphyxiation which could explain her collapse, but no signs of manual strangulation.

He said the signs of asphyxiation could have been caused by a hand or pillow, but there was no direct sign of that.