Ex-IO in Ivana case contradicts earlier witness testimony

Dutch model Ivana Smit, who died last December. (Instagram pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A witness testifying in the inquest into Ivana Smit’s death last year told the Coroner’s Court today that the Indonesian resident whose balcony the Dutch model had fallen on was at the condominium unit mopping his floor at the time.

Sergeant Haliza Hamdan of the Dang Wangi police station, the 20th witness to take the stand, said the resident, Suparman, had personally relayed this to her on Dec 7 when she showed up with the police after receiving a 999 distress call.

When asked by deputy public prosecutor N Joy Jothi if this meant that Suparman, who previously testified that he only found the body when he came home from work that day, was in fact inside the unit when Smit fell, Haliza said he was outside, mopping.

“He said he wasn’t sure what time this was, but remembered hearing a loud noise when he was mopping in front of the house in the hallway. He saw the body after that.

“Then he went downstairs to inform Vanessa (Nair), the building manager, about the body,” Haliza said.

Haliza, who was the original investigating officer in the case, said Suparman had told her he did not see Smit falling as he was outside the sixth-floor hallway and only entered the unit after hearing the loud slam.

This appears to contradict Suparman’s own account of the events at the CapSquare Residences off Jalan Dang Wangi in Kuala Lumpur last year.

Suparman had testified that he was returning from work at around 2pm on Dec 7 when he noticed from the outside that his unit was full of light. He said this was odd given that he had a balcony roof which blocked most of the light.

He said after realising that his balcony roof had probably collapsed, he alerted the building management and asked who would have to bear the cost of the damage. He and the building technician then went to his unit on the sixth floor.

He said he and the technician found the body shortly after, and contacted Nair, who immediately called the police upon seeing the body.

Both Nair and the technician gave testimony in court supporting this account of events.

Today is the 12th day of the inquest into Smit’s death.

She is believed to have fallen earlier in the day from a 20th-floor condo belonging to an American-Kazakh couple she had befriended, Alex Johnson and Luna Almaz.

Police originally classified the case as sudden death, but it was re-opened this year after pressure from Smit’s family, who claimed there were elements of foul play and a cover-up.

The inquest is to determine how Smit died and whether there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.

This will be decided by coroner Mahyon Talib in an open court about a month after the inquest ends on Sept 25.

Haliza later said she had acted on the 999 call made by the CapSquare building manager and had gone with the police to investigate at about 4pm.

She added that she was in charge of handing over the body to the Hospital Kuala Lumpur morgue, where the post-mortem was carried out the next day.

She said she returned with the police to the 20th-floor unit later that night to continue the investigation but found that part of the hallway had been mopped clean by the maid.

When questioned, the maid told Haliza she had only cleaned the hall so far and had done so on Luna’s instructions.

“She said she received orders from Luna to tidy up the house, maybe because they had a party last night. That’s why she was mopping,” Haliza said.

The Johnsons have yet to testify in the inquest despite being subpoenaed by the court. They are currently in the US.

They told a UK daily that they had had sex with Smit in the weeks before her death and on the morning she died.

The night before her death, the trio were having drinks and clubbing in Bangsar, and were not at home.

The inquest continues later this afternoon with Haliza taking the stand once more.