Solitary fingerprint found on objects used to kill Angela Wrightson, court told

Only a single fingerprint was found on a deadly array of more than a dozen objects believed to have been used to batter a frail Hartlepool woman to death, jurors have been told.

Monday, 4th April 2016, 3:45 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2016, 3:51 pm
Only one fingerprint was found on the household objects which were used to batter Angela Wrightson to death, the trial heard.

The print, belonging to the older of two girls accused of murdering Angela Wrightson, was discovered during a forensic sweep of her home by a senior scientist on a printer thought to have been flung at the 39-year-old victim.

The younger of the two defendants, who both deny murder, left no fingerprints at the address in Stephen Street on the night of the frenzied assault on December 8, 2014, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Mr Justice Henry Globe, outlined the findings by forensic scientist Dr Gemma Escott, as he continued to sum up a murder trial which has stretched into its eighth week.

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She concluded that blood, hair and skin found on 14 household items - as well as the damage caused to them - were in keeping with them being used as weapons in the assault.

The items include a kettle, a TV, a printer, a shovel, a vase and a wooden stick laced with screws.

Mr Justice Globe, summarising Dr Escott's evidence, told jurors she found the weapons had been used to deliver at least 27 sickening blows.

But evidence from a fingerprint expert found only one mark left on the items by the two girls.

Mr Justice Globe told the jury: "Dr Escott found that there were 14 potential weapons used to assault Angela Wrightson.

"She was able to identify them as a result of the particular type of damage on them and, significantly, the combination of blood, impacted hair and skin on them."

Mr Justice Globe, referring to further scientific evidence in the case, said 20 fingerprints had been found at the scene - all belonging to the older girl.

But only one fingerprint was found on the paper feed of the printer.

Mr Justice Globe said that Dr Escott had examined the blood spattering on the clothing of both the defendants.

She found they were 'in keeping' with both girls striking repeated blows during the attack.

She submitted that the assault was confined to the living room, but progressed to 12 different areas of that space.

Mr Justice Globe also summed up evidence from Home Office pathologist Dr Mark Egan, who found evidence of more than 100 separate injuries, covering Ms Wrightson's battered body from head-to-toe.

Dr Egan concluded that Ms Wrightson had died from one of three possible causes - a concussive head injury, heavy blood loss, or possibly through asphyxia caused by pressure to the neck, applied after the injuries were inflicted.

Mr Justice Globe said: "Dr Egan concluded the cause of death was from inflicted injuries. Her death was not caused by as a result of any one single injury.

"Dr Egan said the underlying cause of death was the inflicting of injuries, then her heart suddenly stopped."

At the time of her death, Dr Egan found the amount of alcohol in her system was equivalent to being more than four times over the drink-drive limit.

He said her intoxication may have contributed indirectly to her death, as it may have affected her co-ordination, but was not a direct cause.

Mr Justice Globe will conclude his summing up of the case tomorrow morning, with the jury of eight men and four men then expected to be sent out to begin their deliberations.