Thursday January 31, 2008
[/FONT] Five women murdered by an alleged serial killer may have been unable to fight off their attacker because they were on drugs, a pathologist told a court yesterday.
Dr Nat Cary said toxicology tests on the bodies of all five women, found dumped in isolated locations in Ipswich over 10 days in December 2006, showed they were intoxicated with heroin or cocaine.All were regular drug users who worked in the sex industry to fund their addiction, the court heard.
Cary, a Home Office pathologist who was testifying at Ipswich crown court in the trial of the forklift truck driver accused of killing the women, said they had not died from drug overdoses, but the narcotics may have played a part in their deaths. He said their intoxication may have made it easier for an attacker to manhandle them, adding: "Someone may have been so intoxicated they simply would not resist.
"The simple question arises, Did they die of the drugs or with the drugs? All the evidence suggests they died with the drugs on board."
Steve Wright, 49, of Ipswich, denies murdering Gemma Adams, 25, Tania Nicol, 19, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29. Cary said Adams, the first victim to be found on December 2, in Bellstead brook, may have been asphyxiated by someone putting an armlock around her neck. But he said it was impossible to establish a definitive cause of death for her and came to the same conclusion about Nicoll, who was discovered further down the same stream on December 8. He told the jury how he could not exclude the possibility that she had been asphyxiated or drowned, although the same tests as the ones carried out on Adams suggested she did not drown. There was bruising on Nicoll's right upper arm and on the back of her left knee, consistent with someone kneeling on her or manhandling her body, he said. She was, he said, "significantly intoxicated" with morphine, probably derived from heroin.
Cary said there was "convincing evidence" that Alderton, who had bruising on her neck and marks around her mouth, had been asphyxiated. He told jurors that he could not say how, but it was possible she could have been put in a choke-hold and quickly lost consciousness. Toxicology tests showed she was "significantly under the influence of cocaine." Alderton's body was found in a cruciform shape with arms outstretched in woodland at Nacton on December 10. Cary said he could not be sure how Nicholls, also found posed in a cruciform shape on December 12 at Levington, was killed. He suggested that she too might have been asphyxiated. Cary concluded that blood spots found on the nose of Clennell, whose body was found near that of Nicoll's, were also "consistent with the process of asphyxia". The trial continues.