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Friday, March 2, 2012

Gordon Morrice murder trial: Brain injury evidence given

1-23-2012 United Kingdom:

The brain of a suspected paedophile allegedly murdered by five people showed signs of a head injury suffered months before his death, a doctor has told a murder trial.

Gordon Morrice, 57, died several months after being severely injured at playing fields in Aberdeen's Golf Road in 2010.

Robert Laird, 25; Paul Yates, 38; Williamina Stewart, 37; Hector Stewart, 30; and Paul Noble, 17, deny murder.

Dr James MacKenzie said he had found "softening" on Mr Morrice's brain.

The consultant neuropathologist, who examined Mr Morrice's brain after his death, told the trial at the High Court in Aberdeen he had examined the brain microscopically with the naked eye and found the damage was mainly on the left side.

He said there was evidence to suggest Mr Morrice had suffered a head injury although the major damage had been caused by subsequent bleeding.

In his visual exam he detected "softening" on parts of the brain, which he said could appear "boggy".

"The brain deals with damage in one way," he said. "It walls it off, takes it away and you are left with softening.

"Many months have elapsed between the incident that caused it and the death of the deceased."

He added: "What I'm looking at is the remains on the battle field long after the battle is over."

The doctor said Mr Morrice's memory, movements, speech and swallowing would all have been affected.

He said: "The distribution and severity of the brain damage is likely to have rendered the deceased severely neurologically disabled."

'Spontaneous haemorrhage'

Advocate depute David Nicolson told the witness the court had heard that Mr Morrice regained some of his speech in the months after the attack.

Dr MacKenzie replied: "What often happens is there is some degree of functional recovery after time goes by, but there are bits you can't put back together."

The court heard Mr Morrice had been prescribed Warfarin - a blood thinning drug - before the alleged attack and did not lose consciousness until several hours afterwards.

Dr MacKenzie said Mr Morrice may have appeared to function normally after the alleged incident until the build up of a clot started to damage the brain.

He added that this was consistent with someone who may have a "slow bleed" on the brain.

He told the court that a "spontaneous haemorrhage" can occur in a person who is taking Warfarin.

Paul Noble's defence counsel, Edward Targowski QC, asked Dr MacKenzie: "If it can occur relatively spontaneously, then little force would be required to cause a haemorrhage of a patient who is on Warfarin?

The witness replied: "Yes, there is an increased risk of haemorrhage inside the head."

Background checks

The five accused are alleged to have attacked Mr Morrice at a park in Seaton on 24 June 2010.

They are alleged to have struck him on the body with a bicycle and repeatedly punched and stamped on his head and body at Golf Road and the adjoining park.

The attack is alleged to have caused the death of Mr Morrice on 14 March last year at an Aberdeen nursing home.

Williamina and Hector Stewart are also accused of previously showing malice and ill-will towards Mr Morrice.

The trial has heard several witnesses claim that rumours of Mr Morrice being a paedophile had circulated the Seaton community before the alleged attack.

Pc William Thom, of Grampian Police, previously said he ran background checks on Mr Morrice following a report that he had asked to bounce on a trampoline with two children, but they had come back clear.

The trial, before Lord Uist, continues. ..Source.. by BBC


Pair who killed man wrongly accused of being paedophile in Aberdeen jailed

A schoolboy and a mother who killed a man wrongly accused of being a paedophile have been jailed.

Gordon Morrice, 58, died months after being severely injured at playing fields in Aberdeen's Golf Road in 2010.

The attack happened after he asked to bounce on a child's trampoline near his flat in the city.

Williamina Stewart, 37, was jailed for 10 years and Paul Noble, 18, for eight after they both admitted culpable homicide.

They had gone on trial for murder at the High Court in Aberdeen.

Relatives of Mr Morrice said in a statement after the sentencing: "This was a terrible sustained attack on our dad which not only led to his death but caused his family great pain and anguish.
We would also like to thank the good people who came forward”
Family statement

"Not only has our family lost a father and a son but no amount of time can change what has happened or take our pain away.

"We also had to endure nine months of agony while our dad lay in a hospital bed without knowing what would happen. The reality is his life ended on the day of this attack."

They explained: "We still can't believe what these people have done and cannot comprehend why they did it.

"This was a brutal attack which was pre-planned. What sort of people could do something like this? We hope they feel a little bit of our hurt and pain, but I really doubt they will.

"The hurt and pain will always be with us and it is something we will have to live for the rest of our lives."

They added: "It was also extremely hurtful for us to see repeated claims that our dad was a paedophile when this was completely untrue. He was the innocent one and not the one on trial, and I hope the people responsible realise the effect this has had, and will continue to have, in our lives.

"The family would like to thank the police and the crown for their efforts in getting to the truth of the incident and for clearing our dad's name.

"We would also like to thank the good people of Seaton who came forward and helped the police with their enquiries."

'Untimely death'

Grampian Police Det Insp Cammy Preston, who led the inquiry, said: "This is a harsh lesson for anyone who takes the law into their own hands.

"This group made the wrong assumption that Gordon Morrice was a 'paedophile' on the back of a throwaway remark which has literally led to his death.

"There is absolutely nothing to suggest he posed any risk or threat to children."

He went on: "Although those who have been convicted have been justly punished, there were others - some with their children - who stood by and watched the vicious attack on Mr Morrice and did nothing to stop it.

"In contrast, a number of the local community who were horrified by what they saw gave us the information we needed to pursue the accused and I thank them for their assistance.

"The untimely death of Mr Morrice from such a vicious attack, coupled with the malicious allegations from the accused, have caused his family untold pain and I can only hope this brings some closure for them."

Stewart's partner Paul Yates, 38, and her brother Hector Stewart, 30 admitted a reduced charge of assault.

They were admonished.

The case against co-accused Robert Laird, 25, was dropped due to a lack of evidence. ..Source.. by BBC

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