News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
14 Mar 2018
6:02 am

Heart attack didn’t kill top cop Dreyer – pathologist

Ilse de Lange

Police discovered his body after one of the accused approached them, told them of the murder and volunteered to show them the body.

It was unlikely that a former police brigadier died of a heart attack before his body was stuffed down a manhole, a pathologist has told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Forensic pathologist Professor Ryan Blumenthal testified in the trial of Estelle Reddy, 36, Gerhard Papenfus, 42, Kevin Johnson, 31, and Ruvan Furst, 42, who have pleaded not guilty to a range of charges, including murdering former police brigadier and businessperson Danie Dreyer, 62, at his house in Villieria, Pretoria, in March 2016, robbing him and setting his house alight.

They are accused of trying to get rid of Dreyer’s body by covering it with caustic soda and wrapping it in plastic before dumping it down a manhole at Papenfus’ house.

Police discovered the body after Reddy approached them, told them of the murder and volunteered to show them the body and to point out where her three co-accused lived.

The fire brigade had to don protective clothing and it took them more than six hours to extricate the body from the manhole.

Reddy admitted in a statement that she had bought caustic soda and heavy gloves before helping the others to wrap Dreyer’s body in plastic and stuff it head-first down the manhole.

She said Papenfus had told her Dreyer’s death was an accident as he thought Dreyer had a heart attack while they were wrestling. He told her he had overpowered Dreyer, who was throwing Johnson and Furst around like rag dolls, and then tried to revive him with CPR.

Blumenthal testified that although Dreyer’s body was severely decomposed, he could find nothing to suggest that he had died of a heart attack. The ribs on the entire right side of Dreyer’s body were shattered and he also had three fractured ribs on the left side of his chest.

The pathologist said it was possible but unlikely that the rib fractures could have been caused after Dreyer’s death in the process of throwing him down the two-metre deep manhole, or while extricating him from it.

Blumenthal could not determine the exact cause of Dreyer’s death, but found that he had died of unnatural causes. He said there was nothing to suggest that Dreyer had taken an overdose of alcohol or antidepressants before his death.

The trial continues.

Also read:

Court hears details of gruesome Pretoria murder

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