Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Alleged Victim Had 32 Injuries; 24-Year-Old Found in a Shallow Grave

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Alleged Victim Had 32 Injuries; 24-Year-Old Found in a Shallow Grave

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB KENNEDY Court Reporter @ChronicleCourt

ALLEGED murder victim Darren Bonner had 32 separate areas of injury on his body when he was found in a shallow grave at a beauty spot, a court heard.

A pathologist concluded he had died from a lack of blood and oxygen to the brain and said his injuries were consistent with having been put in a choke hold.

Prosecutors claim Mr Bonner's boss, Richard Spottiswood, murdered him with the help of his partner, Lucy Burn, which they both deny.

Dr Mark Egan, a forensic pathologist, examined Mr Bonner soon after he was pulled from a hole in the ground at Cresswell, Northumberland, last July.

He also carried out a post mortem examination when 24-year-old Mr Bonner died 16 days later, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Dr Egan told jurors when he first saw Mr Bonner he was "critically ill", had obvious injuries and was in a depressed level of consciousness. He had small dots of bruising on his cheeks, eyes and behind the ears, which are a sign of asphyxiation, the court heard.

Dr Egan said Mr Bonner had more dotted bruising on his neck and also had an L-shaped graze on his neck and a graze just below his Adam's Apple.

He went on to detail 32 areas of injury to the neck, torso, back, arms and legs, including grazes, abrasions and bruises.

There were no signs of defensive or offensive injuries, which indicated that Mr Bonner had not struck any blows or deflected any blows.

Dr Egan told jurors: "There has been pressure to the neck which ultimately proved to be fatal."

Referring to bruising and abrasions to Mr Bonner's back, he added: "The linear nature is in keeping with the use of a rod-shaped weapon.

"It would have been a mild degree of force but sufficient to cause bruising and would have been painful but insufficient to break underlying ribs. "The injuries are not in themselves life-threatening."

Dr Egan said a number of the injuries are consistent with him "moving through undergrowth while his bare skin was exposed to vegetation". …

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