Murder victim died of ‘severe head injuries’

A murder victim suffered horrific injuries from a hammer, knuckleduster, a knife and television stand, a trial has heard.

Friday, 7th June 2019, 4:11 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 6:17 pm
The case is being heard at Teesside Crown Court
The case is being heard at Teesside Crown Court

Lee Cooper, 43, who was originally from Hartlepool, died in a street attack in Stockton on December 23 last year.

Forensic pathologist Dr Louise Mulcahy told Teesside Crown Court that Mr Cooper suffered 114 injuries in total, including stab and slash wounds, bone fractures and bruises, all over his body.

The trial heard he died from injuries thought to be caused by a hammer to the top and back of his head.

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Lee Cooper

Dr Cooper said: “The circular nature of this fracture and the depressed nature of this fracture this would be typical of, if not indicative of, the use of a hammer.”

She said an injury to the back of Mr Cooper’s head was consistent with a television stand being dropped on him as captured on CCTV.

Nick Dry, prosecuting asked the pathologist if she could say how slash wounds to Mr Cooper’s hands may have been caused. Dr Mulcahy said: “This suggests Mr Cooper has tried to consciously deflect or grab at a blade or sharp edged weapon.”

She said many of Mr Cooper’s injuries were consistent with being caused by a craft knife, while others, including puncture wounds and fractures to the face, were consistent with a spiked knuckleduster.

And Dr Mulcahy said bruising to Mr Cooper’s upper arms were consistent with having been gripped or restrained by someone while others to his body were said to have been due to being struck with a rod like weapon.

The court heard Mr Cooper also suffered bleeding and damage to his brain, the loss of eight teeth and hemorrhaging which affected his breathing and made him susceptible to cardiac arrest.

“Death has been due to the combined effect of these injuries,” Dr Mulcahy told the court.

The assault has been described by prosecutors as the ‘endgame in a simmering feud’ which also saw two other men injured.