Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injuries of Man on Trial for Murder 'Were Typical of Self-Inflicted Wounds'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Injuries of Man on Trial for Murder 'Were Typical of Self-Inflicted Wounds'

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB KENNEDY Reporter

ABUILDING boss who was allegedly choked to death by an employee for money had injuries consistent with his jaw being gripped and his neck squeezed - while wounds on the accused may have been self-inflicted in order to suggest he had been attacked, a court heard.

Steve Coulson was allegedly murdered in his flat by friend Paul Johnson for drugs money.

Jurors at Newcastle Crown Court have been told Johnson raided the property services business owner's safe as he lay dead or dying on his bedroom floor.

Johnson claims he grabbed his boss - described in court as having a "red-hot temper" - in self-defence after he attacked him at his flat in Stakeford, Northumberland, in the early hours of Saturday, October 6 last year.

But prosecutors say the injuries found on the two men afterwards show Mr Coulson was asphyxiated, while Johnson may have inflicted some wounds on himself with a blade.

Jurors were told injuries to 47-yearold Mr Coulson included abrasions or scores to the back of his head and an injury to his legs. Prosecutor Robert Smith QC said he also had bruising and abrasions to his jawline, abrasions to his neck, deep bruising to his neck and a fractured voice box.

Injuries to his neck were consistent with the application of pressure from an arm lock, sufficient to cause asphyxiation, Mr Smith said.

A pathologist who examined Johnson said he had abrasions or scores caused by the tip of a knife which were "typical of self-inflicted wounds", in particular wounds to his face, neck, abdomen, left upper chest, back and right leg.

Mr Smith said: "The prosecution say he inflicted these injuries on himself and did so in order to falsely claim he had been attacked by the deceased in that house."

Lying on the floor next to Mr Coulson's body when he was discovered was a note allegedly left by Johnson and addressed to an ex-partner of Johnson.

It said: "I came here 4.30am he went mad got physical, he attacked me. …

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