A speech expert told a jury there is a “strong chance” that alleged murderer Gareth Dack was the person who called an adult TV station from the victim’s home.
Two recordings of calls made from murder victim Norma Bell’s landline to Babestation were played to the jury at Teesside Crown Court.
Copies of the calls obtained by police were compared by the expert to two samples of suspect Gareth Dack’s voice taken from his police interviews and the custody suite at Hartlepool Police Station.
Voice expert Dr Christin Kirchhubel said there were a number of similarities between the Babestation caller’s voice and that of Dack’s sample.
She said: “My view is there is strong support for the view that the speaker in the Babestation recordings is Gareth Dack.”
She placed the likelihood of them being the same person at three on a scale of one being Extremely Strong to seven being Inconclusive.
Dack, 33, is accused of calling the adult TV station three times from Mrs Bell’s landline overnight on Saturday, April 2, to April 3, when she was strangled to death in her home in Westbourne Road, Hartlepool.
Dr Kirchhubel told the court she noted a number of similarities in the voice recordings, including a breathy and gravely quality.
She said she also found a number of similarities in certain speech sounds in the two samples of Dack’s voice.
Dr Kirchhubel said: “I established it was the same accent in the calls and the [police] interview, but beyond accent I also identified features which are more individual.”
She highlighted a whistle-like quality in the speaker’s pronunciation of ‘s’ and ‘sh’ sounds which she said was present in the Babestation calls and police recordings.
Peter Makepeace QC, defending, said: “You cannot say the person who made those Babestation calls was Gareth Dack can you?”
Dr Kirchhubel said: “Not catagorically, no.”
Dack, of Windermere Road, Hartlepool, denies murder and arson.
The trial continues.