Murder jury told of loud bang

MURDERED pensioner Joan Albert could have been killed around the time neighbours heard a loud bang in her home a murder jury heard today.Digestion expert Doctor Jason Payne-James told Norwich Crown Court Mrs Albert's stomach contents showed her murder could have been at about 2am.

MURDERED pensioner Joan Albert could have been killed around the time neighbours heard a loud bang in her home a murder jury heard today.

Digestion expert Doctor Jason Payne-James told Norwich Crown Court Mrs Albert's stomach contents showed her murder could have been at about 2am.

And defence QC Peter Rouch reminded jurors two witnesses reported hearing a loud noise at about that time near Mrs Albert's house in Boydlands, Capel St Mary.

Simon Hall, 25, of Hill House Road, Ipswich, is accused of murdering the pensioner in the early hours of December 16, 2001 after a night out in Ipswich Town centre.


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Hall denies stabbing the 79-year-old widow to death after she disturbed an attempted burglary.

Mr Rouch told the courts Mrs Albert would often eat a "midnight feast" – something like a tomato sandwich.

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And Doctor Payne-James agreed if the pensioner had eaten the sandwich at exactly midnight it was possible her stomach contents two hours later would match those revealed in Mrs Albert's post-mortem.

But under cross-examination from prosecution QC Graham Parkins, Doctor Payne-James admitted his findings were far from exact.

He accepted Mr Parkins' assertion that no one could be sure what, if anything, Mrs Albert ate after 7pm when she had duck in plumb sauce for dinner.

Doctor Payne-James also agreed the definition of a midnight feast was vague and could refer to anything from a light snack to a more substantial meal.

The medical experts concluded that depending on the volume of Mrs Albert's last meal it could take anywhere between two and six hours for her stomach to empty.

And bearing in mind he could not be sure what her last meal was or when it was eaten, he could not offer any precise times.

Hall sat largely impassively as the medical evidence was heard by the jury.

He is unlikely to hear his fate until tomorrow as lawyers warned their closing statements would take most of this afternoon to complete.

The trial continues.

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