Third day of Whitby murder trial

Spring Hill off Bagdale in Whitby cordoned off by police''w130801b
Spring Hill off Bagdale in Whitby cordoned off by police''w130801b
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A man died from “catastrophic” blood loss after he was stabbed in the chest with a knife which went through his heart, a pathologist told a murder trial jury yesterday.

Dr Jennifer Bolton said the wound to the left side of Gareth Matthews chest had cut through the cartilage of the fifth rib and into the pleural cavity holding the lungs.

She told Leeds Crown Court the wound then continued through the left ventricle of the heart, through the diaphragm ending in the liver.

The tract of the wound measured approximately 16.5centimetres in a downward and inward angle of 30 degrees, she said.

The pathologist told the jury there was extensive blood loss from the heart into the chest cavity and the surrounding area, more than two litres of clotted and fluid blood was found.

“Death has occurred as a result of catastrophic blood loss from the heart.”

Rebecca Dormer (23) denies the murder of Mr Matthews, 32, at the home they shared in Spring Hill Court, Whitby on February 22. She has admitted his manslaughter.

The jury has heard when police arrived at the flat they found Dormer hysterical and pressing a sock on the wound to Mr Matthews chest. He died in spite of efforts by officers and paramedics to revive him.

Dr Bolton was asked by Simon Kealey prosecuting to assess the force used in inflicting such a wound.

“The way we assess force is on a scale of mild, moderate and severe,” she said. “There was complete cutting through of the cartilage of the rib and therefore the wound would have taken a moderate degree of force assuming the tip of the knife was sharp.”

The jury were shown a kitchen knife recovered from the flat which Dr Bolton said was consistent with having caused the wound.

She said there were no injuries on Mr Matthews suggesting he had tried to fend off the blade. He did have one bruise on a knuckle likely to have been caused by him landing a blow to something or someone up to an hour before the fatal injury.

Mr Matthews would have been able to move and talk for a time and blood spots in the flat suggested he had moved from the kitchen after the stabbing to the sofa.

Forensic scientist Hilary Parkinson told the jury she examined the knife which was recovered from behind the knife block in the kitchen.

It had globules of fatty material on it and tests showed that matched the DNA profile of Mr Matthews.

The blood spots began in the kitchen where a pink T shirt was found with a cut matching the wound. The T shirt was held up for the jury to see, she said it had blood staining and runs of blood down from the cut.

Blood spots led across the living room to the sofa which had heavy pooled blood in the centre.

The trial continues.