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Man, 22, found in river died from drowning, court hears

PUBLISHED: 05:51 17 November 2020

Joe Pooley, from Ipswich, was found dead in the River Gipping in 2018  Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

Joe Pooley, from Ipswich, was found dead in the River Gipping in 2018 Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

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A 22-year-old man whose body was found in an Ipswich river drowned, a court has heard.

Joe Pooley's body was discovered in the River Gipping  Picture: RACHEL EDGEJoe Pooley's body was discovered in the River Gipping Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court during the trial of two men and two women accused of murdering Joe Pooley, pathologist Dr Nat Cary said he couldn’t find any obvious sign of violence which could have caused his death.

During his evidence via a video link on Monday (November 16), Dr Cary said that when he carried out a post-mortem examination on Mr Pooley’s body, which was found in a stretch of the River Gipping, he found no fractures or major evidence of blunt force trauma, such as a kick or punch.

There was also no evidence of a compressive injury to Mr Pooley’s neck, although he said subtle signs could be missed because of the level of decomposition.

Dr Cary said it was possible for a person to be struck to the head and be knocked unconscious and for there to be little in the way of marks on the body.

He said the cause of Mr Pooley’s death was immersion in water.

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Before Ipswich Crown Court are Sebastian Smith, 35, of no fixed address, Sean Palmer, 30, of South Market Road, Great Yarmouth, Becki West-Davidson, 30, of Rope Walk, Ipswich, and Lisa-Marie Smith, 26, of Hawick, Roxburghshire.

They have all denied murdering Mr Pooley on or before August 7 2018.

Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting, has alleged that West-Davidson, who had a sexual relationship with Mr Pooley, had been angry with Mr Pooley over comments he was said to have made about her and Lisa-Marie Smith and had “stoked up hostility towards him”.

He claimed that Sebastian Smith and Palmer had attacked Mr Pooley and thrown his body in the River Gipping after Sebastian Smith’s then girlfriend, Lisa-Marie Smith, allegedly lured Mr Pooley from his address at the Kingsley House Hotel knowing he was going to be attacked.

He claimed that following the discovery of Mr Pooley’s body, Palmer told his then girlfriend that Sebastian Smith had punched Mr Pooley and he had helped put him in the river.

Mr Paxton alleged that the defendants had “bullied, threatened and ganged up on” Mr Pooley.

The trial continues.


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