Double murder trial: Expert ‘not certain’ how man died

A MEDICAL expert has told a jury that he is “not certain” how a victim at the centre of a double murder trial died.

Ipswich Crown Court heard Dr Kenneth Shorrock explain that the type of head and neck injuries suffered by Des Thorpe were consistent with him being smothered, but he could not be sure what caused his death.

Mr Thorpe, 43, died on August 10 last year at a flat in Limerick Close, Ipswich.

Paul Clarke, 41, of Mountbatten Court, and a 15-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, deny his murder.

Clarke, the girl and a third defendant, John Grimwood, 28, of Canham Street, also deny murdering Rosalyn Hunt, 41, at her Victoria Street flat between August 1 and 10 last year.

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It is alleged that Mr Thorpe was killed after he threatened to tell police about Mrs Hunt’s murder.

Dr Shorrock, a consultant pathologist, said injuries to Mr Thorpe’s mouth could have been caused by a “thump of some sort” or by “sustained pressure”, but were not the direct cause of his death.

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He said: “The simple answer in this case is I am not certain of the cause of death, but one thing which I did find which I consider to be very significant was the laceration, splits, on the inside of the lip, which were associated with a small amount of bruising.

“These were caused by the lips coming forcibly into contact with the teeth.” He said the injuries Mr Thorpe had suffered had not killed him, but could tell the jury something about what had happened to him in his final moments.

He said: “It might give you an idea that something has happened to this man, but he hasn’t got bad external injuries as a result of being beaten up. He hasn’t got defensive injuries.

“(He has) some caused by falls, some more likely caused by assault.”

Dr Shorrock said his examinations revealed Mr Thorpe had been suffering from mild pneumonia and had a high blood alcohol level and even higher urine alcohol reading, showing that he had been drinking in the hours before his death.

The trial continues.

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