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By Rob George Friday 30 November 2012 Updated: 03/12 09:52
THE PATHOLOGIST who conducted the post-mortem on Dines Green murder victim Jackie Harrison’s body gave evidence on day eight of the trial of William Cummins.
Home Office pathologist Dr Alexander Kolar told the jury Miss Harrison’s body had begun to decompose and a ‘prolonged time’ had passed between her death and her body being discovered.
Under questioning from prosecuting counsel Richard Atkins QC, Dr Kolar said Miss Harrison had suffered a number of injuries as the result of one or more severe assaults.
Miss Harrison was found to have a significant fracture of her jaw and large amount of bruises to various points to her body.
Dr Kolar said the bruises on her upper arms were consistent with someone gripping her while the marks on her lower arms bore the hallmarks of Miss Harrison trying to defend herself.
She also suffered bruising to her face and eye sockets which included a fracture of her nose while Dr Kolar said her back showed signs of more solid bruises.
In his opinion, Dr Kolar said the bruises below her shoulder-blades and above her buttocks were the result of a ‘blunt-force assault’ and ‘not consistent with someone falling over’.
Mr Atkins told the court Miss Harrison had a total of 16 rib fractures when she died and was showing the early signs of pneumonia.
Dr Kolar was also questioned about the swelling to Miss Harrison’s brain which was discovered during the post-mortem.
He quoted a fellow expert who was sent details of Miss Harrison’s brain injuries and concluded she may have been unconscious before her death.
Dr Kolar said Miss Harrison could have died anywhere between 35 minutes and just over two hours following the assault.
Under cross-examination from defence counsel Richard Benson QC, Dr Kolar could not confirm whether Miss Harrison would have survived if an ambulance had been called swiftly after the attack.
“She may have survived but there was no guarantee the brain injury she did have would not have developed further and become fatal,” Dr Kolar said.
Mr Benson also asked whether the injuries were from one assault or several, again Dr Kolar said he could not be certain but said it appeared she had suffered several assaults.
When asked whether she could have been choked or been strangled, Dr Kolar said there was no evidence of such injury.
The jury also heard from Christopher Lloyd, a forensic scientist who examined the blood found at Miss Harrison’s flat.
Blood on the duvet cover, sheet and pillow cases which were found in the washing machine was that of Miss Harrison according to Mr Lloyd.
Evidence of a boot print on the door of Miss Harrison’s flat was also examined and Mr Lloyd told the court it proved to be a match with the right boot taken from Cummins.
Cummins denies murdering Miss Harrison.
The trial continues.
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