• Pathologist says no headless body examined

    first_imgChief Government Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh said he saw no headless body after the March 3 deadly riot, which claimed the lives of 17 inmates. The Government Pathologist made these statements in his testimony to the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the prison deaths on Tuesday.He explained that a post-mortem examination on the bodies of the dead prisoners revealed that prisoners died mainly as a result of burns and smoke inhalation. However, upon further examination of the bodies, the evidence pointed to blunt trauma meaning that some may have been hit with a solid object. These revelations come in stark contrast to the testimony of some prisoners and members of the Fire Service who had previously told Commissioners that they had seen a headless body.“I’m sorry; I’ve never seen that body…all the heads were intact; if there was the headless corpse, the family would have complained. If you check the reports, there is nothing like a headless body,” stressed Dr Singh.Commission Counsel Excellence Dazzle then asked the Pathologist about the version of events which stated that one inmate had his intestines protruding out of his body. It was suggested that this may have been as a result of either a “striking” or “stabbing” injury. The Pathologist, however, stated that a lack of knowledge of forensics and bones may be responsible for such a “mistake” being made.He further explained that the abdominal area where the intestines are situated is “the thinnest part” of the body and as such, the skin would burn off and the intestines would later protrude as long as the person was not directly in the fire. This aspect of his testimony corroborates that of the investigation by the Guyana Fire Service which noted that the “flash over” effect incinerates flammable items in an enclosed space.Also in his testimony, the Pathologist described the factors under which two inmates would have suffered blunt trauma.“The cause of that could be several, including falling, cuffing, kicking, falling, lashing – I couldn’t say which one,” Dr Singh testified.He further explained that because of how badly the bodies were burnt, certain determinations could not be made. The CoI heard that some of the bodies had 90-95 per cent burns and many were identified by their tattoos since the ink penetrates different layers of the skin.Under cross-examination by the Attorney representing the Joint Services, Eusi Anderson, Dr Singh admitted that there were limitations within the toxicology department as well as the X-ray, forensic dentistry and imagery departments. Dr Singh also conceded that the bodies were not tested for poisoning and, as such, it could not be ruled out.Chief Fire Officer Marlon Gentle had told Commissioners last month that the inmate who had his intestines protruding could not have died from the prison fire. Prisoner Steve Bacchus had also told the CoI that while searching for his friend Germaine Otto, he saw a single burnt skull that was severed from the prisoner’s body on a mattress. Bacchus later realised that Otto was dead.It was on March 3 that the rioting caused the deaths of 17 inmates. The hearings continue this morning.last_img

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