Alleged manslaughter victim ‘dead when he hit ground’, says pathologist
A man found lifeless outside an Ipswich takeaway following an alleged lethal assault died due to blunt force trauma from one fatal blow, a court has heard.
A pathologist said Richard Day was “effectively dead when he hit the ground” outside Kebapizza in St Matthew’s Street just after midnight on February 23.
Dr Nathaniel Cary spoke at the trial of two boys accused of manslaughter on Wednesday.
Both boys, aged 17 and 16, who are from Ipswich but cannot be identified due to their age, deny manslaughter and violent disorder.
A jury at Ipswich Crown Court was last week told a third boy of 16 had admitted manslaughter and would not be standing trial.
Mr Day was pronounced dead at Addenbrooke’s Hospital 36 hours after the incident.
Dr Cary described a variety of deep bruises covering Mr Day’s head and torso area – caused, he said, by at least moderate force from blunt impact, but unlikely to have contributed to his death.
He said the important finding was a subarachnoid haemorrhage, caused by a tear in the vertebral artery, which flooded the base of Mr Day’s brain with blood, and led to rapid loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest.
Dr Cary said the most likely cause was impact to the junction of the head and neck.
He said the first blow – a punch – was followed by a kick and three successive fist blows, then a kick and another kick or stamp.
Earlier, the court heard that Mr Day was walking home “a little worse for wear”.
Prosecutor Riel Karmy-Jones QC told jurors he encountered three youths, and that there was a confrontation, in the course of which he approached them and was “set upon”.
The jury was shown CCTV of the incident.
The prosecution suggested one of the youths said something as Mr Day passed the boys, who then stopped outside Kebapizza, where, Ms Karmy-Jones told the court, Mr Day may have said something.
Forty seconds later, Mr Day was seen to return to confront the boys – gathered in what Ms Karmy-Jones called a triangle formation.
Last week, she argued that all three had “spearheaded a rapid, vicious and joint attack”.
Ms Karmy-Jones QC asked Dr Cary: “From watching the CCTV, are you able to express an opinion of what blow caused the tear?”
Dr Cary replied: “In my opinion, it was most likely the first blow.”
When asked what effect intoxication would have, Dr Cary said stretching of the artery could occur more easily due to the head being “more wobbly” and less protected.
Dr Cary said Mr Day was “effectively dead when he hit the ground” because he was in cardiac arrest, adding: “They managed to start his heart, but could do nothing for his brain.”
The trial continues.
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