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Murder trial latest: Victim died of blood loss due to shotgun and stab wound

AN ALLEGED murder victim died of blood loss due to a shotgun wound to the heart and a stab wound to his major arteries, a court heard.

AN ALLEGED murder victim died of blood loss due to a shotgun wound to the heart and a stab wound to his major arteries, a court heard.
Pathologist Dr Richard Shepherd told Liverpool Crown Court he carried out a post mortem examination on 49-year-old Martin Ithell of Boughton, Chester.

Scott Davidson, 23, and his former fiancee Rachael Horton, 19, have pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Ithell at their home in Hawthorne Road, Frodsham, on the evening of Friday March 11.

Davidson has admitted shooting Mr Ithell but says he was acting in self-defence when the gun, which he hadn't realised was loaded, went off by accident.

After initially claiming he both shot and stabbed Mr Ithell, he now says it was Horton who stabbed him with a kitchen knife, which was when he fell to the floor.

Horton, from Hawthorn Road, Little Sutton, who initially confessed to stabbing the alleged victim, has since retracted the admission saying she was protecting her partner.

Pathologist Dr Shepherd concluded Mr Ithell was still alive after he was shot in the right side of his heart because the 'left main pumping side' was still working.

But he would have immediately fallen to the floor which was when he believes Mr Ithell was stabbed nine times to the right side of the neck, with one wound so deep it cut through the right carotid artery and into the right jugular vein.

Dr Shepherd said: "He died as a result of bleeding from both these main groups of injuries - the heart wounds and stab wounds to the neck."

From experience, he commented that it would have taken 'at least two people' to move Mr Ithell's body onto the rear seat of his BMW which was how he was found.

Earlier the jury heard from forensic scientist Philip Rydeard who concluded the gun was discharged at no less than one metre from the victim and no greater than two metres.

He conducted tests on the double barrelled shotgun involved in the case which showed it would have taken a pressure of 1lb to operate the trigger.

But under cross examination he admitted the gun was worn. The normal expected trigger pull pressure would be between three-and-a-half to five pounds.

He had been able to cause the gun to discharge by dropping it and by hitting it with a leather-faced hammer to simulate a jarring effect.

Forensic scientist Gillian O'Boyle told the jury she had found Davidson's DNA profile on a green balaclava with eye holes - said by the prosecution to be part of a robber's kit found at the house - and components of Horton's DNA profile.

A white latex glove stained with Mr Ithell's blood and another latex glove featured components of Davidson's DNA profile and the DNA of at least one other person. For technical reasons it was not possible to test for Horton's DNA.

Richard Pratt QC, defending Davidson, theorised that even with a mixture of DNA profiles it did not automatically follow they were deposited at the same time, which was confirmed by the expert.

Andrew Thomas QC, defending Horton, suggested the presence of DNA 'doesn't necessarily tell you the circumstances in which it has been deposited'.

With respect to the balaclava, he said even if Horton's DNA was present it may be material that was present on Scott Davidson as a result of 'intimate contact', which was accepted by the expert as a possibility.

The trial continues.



David Holmes
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