THE cause of death of Dr Eddie Koury was disputed yesterday during the ongoing murder trial of five men in the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.
Consultant histopathologist Dr Shaheeba Barrow insisted that Koury was already dead before his head was cut off. Dr Barrow, who performed a second autopsy on the businessman's headless body, described as “outrageous”, the findings of cause of death by pathologist Dr Hughvon des Vignes who conducted the initial autopsy.
In her testimony, Barrow said des Vignes’ cause-of-death finding of “decapitation” was outrageous and not supported by evidence. After Des Vignes' autopsy, Barrow said, Dr George Laquis a relative of Koury and her professional colleague, had asked her to do a second autopsy.
Barrow said that in her opinion, after she examined Koury’s body externally and internally and also looked at skin tissue samples she collected, he died as a result of haemorrhage shock, or blood loss, resulting from a stab to the right thigh. She said from her findings, death would have most likely occurred one to three hours after he was stabbed.
The decapitation, she said, took place after he was dead. During much of her testimony, gory details of her autopsy were given to the jury, including description of bruising and of maggots on the body.
Her admission that des Vignes’ finding was not supported by evidence came during cross-examination by attorney Mario Merritt, who also questioned Barrow about her colleague’s expertise in forensic pathology. She said at the time the autopsies were done, in 2005, there was no registration for forensic pathologist with the Medical Board.
“We were both histopathologists,” she said. In answer to a direct question, she added that des Vignes was not registered as a forensic pathologist. She also said she was aware he came to a different conclusion on the cause of death, adding, in response to a general question, that a competent pathologist would have come to the same conclusion she arrived at.
Barrow said when she examined the tissue around Koury’s neck there were no signs of bleeding, which meant when his head was cut off, he was already dead. She told Merritt he would have to ask des Vignes about his findings.
Koury, the managing director of ISKO Enterprises, an import and distribution company in the Macoya industrial estate, was abducted from his office on September 21, 2005. Two days later, his headless corpse was found in central Trinidad.
On trial before Justice Malcolm Holdip in the First Criminal Court are Shawn James, Caleb Donaldson, Jerome Murray, Terry Moore and Robert Franklyn. The trial continues today.