Angelique died due to strangulation, not epileptic seizure, doctor says

Carl Abrahams in court on murder charge after wife Angelique's death in 2019


A forensic expert strongly believes that Angelique Clarke-Abrahams died due strangulation, even though the physical marks on her neck had vanished before the postmortem could be concluded.

Dr Solomon Zondi, chief medical officer at Woodbrook, the East London government mortuary, made these revelations when he took stand at the East London high court on Friday.

Zondi told high court presiding judge Michelle Beneke it was his professional opinion that Angelique’s death had been caused by suffocation through strangulation, and it was possible that she could have died after her airway was blocked, possibly by her tongue or mouth secretions.

Angelique died in September 2019, succumbing to injuries after she was badly beaten, allegedly by her husband, Carl Abrahams, during Women’s Month.

Abrahams was charged with rape and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and later charged with murder after she died. 

Zondi stayed  on the stand for over three hours, and testified on the injuries he found while examining the body of Angelique.

He said she had suffered bruises to her body, on her ankle, right shoulder and lateral aspect of the shoulder and her chest, which were inconsistent with injuries that a person who was having a seizure would sustain if she was unattended.

He said some bruises had disappeared before they could be photographed but he had found evidence of strangulation during the autopsy, five days after Angelique had died.

Abrahams, who was in testimony described as an abuser, sat still in court during the proceedings, only consulting with his legal representative, advocate Mark Botha.

Abrahams showed now emotion as he sat upright, staring right in front of him while Zondi described his wife’s injuries.

“Her fingertips had bruises but her skull was intact ...The deceased was strangled and she suffered hypoxic brain damage. I could not find any evidence that she was epileptic,” said Zondi.  

Carl Abrahams.
Carl Abrahams.

The first witness to be called by prosecutor Nickie Turner was a cousin, Lillian Lotter,  who was close to the couple.

Lotter did not stay long in the dock.

She testified about a Facebook message that Abrahams had sent to her, saying he and wife were having marital issues, and that he had “lost his temper a few times”.

This was challenged by Botha, who questioned the authenticity of that message.

Beneke postponed the matter to Monday for Zondi to conclude his testimony.



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