Patentia miner Sunil Ramsundar died from shock due to haemorrhaging caused by a puncture wound to the left thoracic artery in his neck, Pathologist Dr Vivekanand Bridgemohan testified yesterday.
Bridgemohan, who was testifying at the trial of murder accused Vishwantie Ragnauth and Nyron Thakurdyal, also stated that it was likely that a person would have died shortly after such a wound was inflicted because of excessive bleeding and that the puncture was most likely caused by a knife.
Ragnauth and Thakurdyal are on trial for allegedly murdering Ramsundar on December 26th, 2014. They led their defence yesterday with unsworn statements in which they said the deceased had braced Ragnauth against a fence and Thakurdyal had pulled him off.
On Monday, Ramsundar’s daughter, Zalena Ramsundar, had testified that she witnessed the events leading up to her father’s death. The girl had stated that she saw Ragnauth and Thakurdyal in an altercation with her father, and that she saw them hitting him about the body with cuffing motions. She said that when she arrived there, her father’s jersey was blood-soaked and he was in a sitting position, braced against the fence.
She, however, had admitted that she had not seen a knife at the scene.
A knife presented in court yesterday most closely resembled a chef’s knife, with a wide body and curved tip.
The pathologist had said that the puncture wound, which was in fact one of several injuries documented in the post-mortem report, was circular in shape. Other injuries observed on the body of the deceased were a cut on the outside of the mouth, a cut on the left side of his jaw bone, an oval shaped incised wound on the forearm, a cut on the left palm and small abrasions to the side of the neck. Internally, there was excessive bleeding around the esophagus.
Bridgemohan explained that the circular puncture wound to the neck could have been created by the knife, depending on the amount of pressure that was exerted.
With moderate pressure, the knife, with its sharp tip, could have created a circular wound, he said. With added pressure, and given the elasticity of the skin, an oval wound would have resulted, Bridgemohan further explained.
Defence attorney Nigel Hughes, during cross-examination, attempted to establish the possibility that another object, not necessarily a knife, could have resulted in the puncture described in the autopsy report.
Hughes asked whether Bridgemohan’s assumption that the wound was caused by the knife was not based on the premise that it was present at the scene and also used at the time, to which the pathologist responded in the affirmative.
The attorney had also enquired if it is not usually the case that circular wounds are created by circular objects, to which the doctor said “not necessarily” but then responded with “yes” when asked if it “most often” is.
Hughes also asked if it were not possible that another object, protruding from the paling of the fence, had caused the puncture. Bridgemohan said that it was possible given the right conditions, including the angle at which the body would have fallen and the position of the object.
Bridgemohan, however, under re-examination by prosecutor Lisa Cave, stated that based on his observations, it was more likely that the puncture wound was caused by a knife and not another object. (It was inaccurately reported on Monday that prosecutor Cave led the evidence-in-chief of witness Zalena Ramsundar; it was in fact prosecutor Orinthia Schmidth. The two are prosecuting the case jointly.)
He had admitted, though, during cross-examination, that he has not seen the fence referred to by Hughes in his questioning.
Questions were also directed to the pathologist by the jury.
It was asked how common it is for a knife to cause a circular wound. Bridgemohan said that it depends on the “configuration” of the knife and added that while it is not very common, the particular knife in question is sharp and narrow.
Questioned as to whether the fatal wound was inflicted from in front or behind the deceased, he could not say. On whether the cut found in the palm appeared to be a defensive injury, Bridgemohan responded yes. Under cross-examination he had accepted that that cut could have also been caused by the fence.
Meanwhile, Ragnauth, in her unsworn statement, said yesterday that on the day in question, her uncle had come to her house; once in the afternoon, around 2.30 to 3 pm, asking for her mother, from whom he wanted money, and then again around 8.30 to 9 pm.
At that time, she was reportedly speaking with Thakurdyal. She related that her uncle appeared to have been drinking and was swearing. He left again but came back, and she said that when he called for her she went out.
Ragnauth said Ramsundar “scramble” her into a fence, and when she began to scream, Thakurdyal went out and pulled him away from her. When he did so, she said her uncle fell into the fence.
Following the altercation, Ragnauth said they left to go to the police station to report the matter and after walking some time, flagged down a car and told the person to take them there.
Ragnauth testified that they had no knife or phone in their possession.
Thakurdyal, similarly in his statement, said he heard Ragnauth screaming and ran out. He said he found her braced against the fence with her hands up and he grabbed Ramsundar’s hands and told him to let her go. He stated that when he let go of Ramsundar, the man fell towards the fence.
He too repeated that they left to go to the police station to report the matter, and denied that they had any knife or phone on them at the time.
Last week, Lance Corporal Benjamin La Fleur recounted giving the two accused a lift and hearing one of them speaking about having stabbed someone.
La Fleur said that he was heading home after attending a family function when he saw the two frantically running along the road. He said shortly after returning home, he went back out and saw the accused still standing on the road.
As it was after 10 that night, he said he decided to give them a drop out of the Patentia Housing Scheme as he knew Ragnauth, who also resided in the community. He said he stopped his vehicle and they both went into the back seat.
He said he then overheard a telephone conversation Thakurdyal was having with someone, during which he uttered the words, “pick me up at de park. One a dem get stupid and I juk he up.”
La Fleur, who said he was off-duty at the time and dressed in civilian clothing, related to the court that he did not engage either of the two in any conversation and neither did they engage him. He added that he drove them into the compound of the Wales Police Station, which was located a short distance away.
There, he said, he reported to the officer-in-charge what he had heard and the two accused were later taken into the station for questioning. He said at the time he had offered them the lift, he was unaware that Ramsundar had been stabbed and had died.
The matter has been adjourned until tomorrow at 9.30 am, when Justice Sandil Kissoon will sum up the case.