Friday, March 10, 2006

Head and Shoulders
This just in...and no, she didn't take it off and toss it in the trash....
Annie Pang lost her head naturally, a forensic pathologist told the coroner's inquest looking into the cause of her death and the mysteries as to why it took four years for her skeletal remains to be found after she died apparently alone in a Waterloo Road flat owned by her married lover, lawyer John Fang.
While her skeleton was lying on its right side on the floor next to her bed, her skull was found in a rubbish bin that was lodged next to a wall and the bed.
Dr Hau Kong-lung told the inquest Friday that the skull was found upside down in the pink plastic trash basket but that he believed it was because Pang died with her head resting on the bin's lip. As decomposition took its course from the summer of 1995 until the remains were reported to police on October 7, 1999 the ligaments and tissue that held the neck to the body decayed and the head toppled upside down into the waste basket.
``The layer of hair had separated from the skull,'' Hau said. ``When we removed the hair we found the top of the skull on the bottom of the bin.''While he said a conclusion of how she died was ``unexplainable due to skeletalization'' he couldn't exclude that Pang died due to a natural disease, a drug overdose, a heart attack, poison, or during an epileptic fit.
Her hair contained traces of morphine and a syringe and packet of heroin were found in the disheveled, filthy flat. Coroner's officer Dee Crebbin has said Pang was epileptic and others, including a psychiatrist who saw her, said she admitted to being hooked on sleeping pills and to using heroin and meth-amphetamine, also known as ``Ice.''
Hau said there was ``nothing unusual'' about Pang's posture when found and said he found no evidence of any foul play. He also noted that an earlier mystery, two very similar photos in which Pang's right shoulder blade appeared and then disappeared could be explained because a photographer documenting his recovery of the bones was taking step-by-step photos as bones were removed.
``There was no evidence from the layout of her skeleton that the bones had been moved,'' Hau said. ``[Her posture] doesn't raise any suspicion to me. To me it looks natural.''
In a riveting display, he used a sketch, a life-size cloth dummy and a plastic rubbish bin to show the court how he believed the former model was lying and how her head separated from the body.`
`Unfortunately this rubbish bin is not not as large so you have to use your imagination,'' Hau told the five jurors. ``When the decomposition set in the bones began separating and when the neck and spine separated it naturally proves that if the rubbish bin is large enough the skull will fall like this upside down into the bin.''
He said Pang's bones showed no sign of damage, breakage or cut marks and that two right finger tips that were missing probably decayed.
However solicitor Mary Jean Reimer who is representing Pang's family was out for blood in repeated questions that focused on whether or not stains on a sheet, the rubbish bin lip, a wall and clothing found under Pang's remains were due to injuries. Hau attributed all the stains to fluids due to decomposition as did Joyce Kwok Ngan, a scientific evidence officer who collected evidence from the scene.
``Do you want a detailed lesson in the decomposition of a body?'' Coroner Colin Mackintosh asked Reimer at one point.
In another grasping effort to unearth chicanery behind Pang's death, Reimer also asked Hau if it was possible that the skull and skeleton were from two different individuals.
He assured her that the two were an exact fit when joined.

1. What was the weight of the cloth dummy? Was it the same as Annie Pang's weight? If so, wouldn't it have toppled the plastic rubbish bin?
2. Why, if the forensic pathologist was intent on a "riveting" demonstration, did he not use the exact replica of the rubbish bin, but instead, explained, "Unfortunately this rubbish bin is not not as large so you have to use your imagination."

3. Is this forensic pathologist a government employee?

4. Was he able to explain and demonstrate how the skeleton could end up in the position that it was found if the scenario is as he depicts it?

It appears that a lot of imagination has to be used to believe this "explanation".
Glad you asked. Some of these questions occurred to me.
1. No weight was given though judging from the size and what I know of Annie's size it was larger and heavier.
2. They probably don't still sell that kind of trash basket here anymore. It was larger than the ones I've seen stocked around and I've been looking for my own trash needs.
3. Yes
4. Yes
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