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Severe blows to Kerri McAuley would be “hardest punch you could deliver”, pathologist tells murder trial of Joe Storey

PUBLISHED: 09:33 14 June 2017 | UPDATED: 14:53 14 June 2017

Kerri McAuley. Photo: Norfolk Police

Kerri McAuley. Photo: Norfolk Police

Norfolk Police

Traumatic injuries inflicted on Kerri McAuley before she died included strangulation and multiple blows to her face, a leading pathologist has told the trial of former partner Joe Storey.

Joe Storey. Picture: Facebook Joe Storey. Picture: Facebook

Storey, 27, formerly of Murrells Court, Norwich, was absent from Norwich Crown Court as the extent of 19 separate injuries were detailed to the jury as he stands accused of the murder of Ms McAuley, 32.

MORE: ‘You will always be a liar, a cheat and a woman beater’: Murder trial told of texts between Kerri McAuley and Joe Storey

Pathologist Dr Benjamin Swift attended the James Paget University Hospital on January 9, the day after she was found at Southalls Way, where he conducted an independent examination of her body.

He described “multiple facial fractures” causing her lower jaw to have come loose.

“The whole centre of her face had been driven inwards by nearly one centimetre,” he told the jury,

Simon Spence QC, prosecuting, said Ms McAuley’s skull was “almost a mosaic of small fractured pieces of bone”.

Dr Swift added the hyoid bone was also fractured on the right hand side, with grazing to the surface of the skin.

“This indicated there had been compression of the neck - forceful pressure applied across her neck,” he said. “If I took it one step further the combination of injuries to the skin surface, pinpoint bleeding around the eyes, bruising to the structure of the neck and fracturing of the hyoid bone, all point to strangulation, be it through manual means, crook of an arm or use of a ligature. It required deliberate force and that force needs to be consistent for a period of time.”

Ms McAuley had also swallowed blood in the wake of the assault, with some making its way into her airways and lungs.

The toxicology report showed no trace of drugs, but a blood alcohol level of 246mcgs in 100ml of blood, more than three times the drink drive limit. Examination of her brain showed small areas of damage “consistent with traumatic damage”.

“I found severe facial injuries resulting in extensive fracturing to cheek bones, eye sockets, nasal bones and multiple fractures to both the upper and lower jaw,” Dr Swift said in his conclusion.

“Such injuries can result from blunt force trauma as may occur from any punches, kicks, or stamping actions. It would be the hardest punch you could deliver, but repeatedly, given the number of injuries.

“Her death may have been the result of a combination of factors - the amount of blood she was losing from the facial injuries, but also that was going into her stomach and airways. That caused a lack of oxygen going into her body.”

Dr Swift was not able to indicate the number of blows which caused the injuries to Ms McAuley.

No defensive or offensive wounds were found on her hands, which would have indicated if she had thrown any blows in aggression or self defence.

The prosecution finished their case with the defence expected to begin tomorrow morning.

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