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(Title change) The evidence that Stuart Lubbock was never in the swimming pool: The evidence of the pathologists

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(Title change) The evidence that Stuart Lubbock was never in the swimming pool: The evidence of the pathologists

Post by Tony Bennett on 30.12.12 18:00

Duplicate post from another thread in error.

I will now use this thread to post up, ASAP, the chapter in my book on the pathologists' evidence - T.B.

Please be patient for a day or two


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Re: (Title change) The evidence that Stuart Lubbock was never in the swimming pool: The evidence of the pathologists

Post by Tony Bennett on 30.12.12 20:58

NOT AWIGHT: Getting Away With Murder: CHAPTER ELEVEN

This article is copyright. 'Fair use' of it is fine so long as the author is acknowledged.

The Pathologists: Dr Michael Heath v. The Rest

In this chapter we discuss one of the most controversial aspects of the case - the evidence presented to the Police and to the Coroner’s Inquest by four of the country’s top four Pathologists.

Dr Heath, at the time of us finalising the contents of this book, is under continued investigation in relation to his findings in a series of murder cases, where it is possible that Dr Heath’s autopsies may have contributed to a series of miscarriage of justice. Indeed, it is possible that his conclusions have contributed to a considerable number of people being wrongly convicted.

It was Dr Heath who, for reasons best known to Essex Police, was summoned to carry out the autopsy on Stuart Lubbock, which we will look at in more detail in a moment. No doubt the early recognition that his death appeared to have occurred at the home of Britain’s leading entertainer was a major factor in that decision. Barrymore’s past connections with Princess Diana and other top names no doubt meant that the police would turn to someone known to deal with ‘high profile’ cases, in what would
undoubtedly turn out to be yet another such case.

But first, let us look in some detail at Dr Heath’s unusual career. Dr Michael John Heath, it seems, first became appointed, or ‘licensed’, to carry out Home Office pathology work in 1992. It was not long before

Dr Heath was being brought in to carry out some of the country’s most high profile and controversial murder investigations and unexplained deaths.

Since then, he has carried out thousands of autopsies.

Two of his many high profile cases included the murder of Stuart Noye in the ‘Brinks Mat’ robbery case and the murder of Lin and Megan Russell by Michael Stone.

The Home Office revealed on 15 January last year (2006), strangely enough just one day before the first hearing in my private prosecution of Michael Barrymore at Epping Magistrates Court on Monday 16 January, that Dr Heath had apparently ceased - at his own request it was said – from doing any further Home Office work. The Home Office conceded that this was due to ‘persistent and serious questions’ about his competence.

Later in the year, on 24 August 2006, a Disciplinary Tribunal, unusually held at the Old Bailey, severely criticised Dr. Heath.

The following day, Sandra Laville reported in The Guardian newspaper that: “Dozens of murder cases could be reopened after a leading Home Office Pathologist was criticised in a disciplinary judgment yesterday which is likely to lead to him being struck off the register. The tribunal ruled that Michael Heath, aHome Office pathologist for 14 years, bungled postmortem investigations into the deaths of two women which led to their partners being wrongly tried for murder.After a six-week hearing, the Home Office Advisory Board found that in the casesof Mary Anne Moore and Jacqueline Tindsley, Dr Heath's professionalperformance ‘fell short of the standards required of Forensic Pathologists’ by the Home Secretary. He refused to back down on his view that the two women hadbeen murdered, despite mounting evidence to the contrary from otherPathologists”.

The Guardian reporter added:

“Dr Heath has been involved in hundreds of postmortem examinations andcriminal cases, including that of Lin and Megan Russell, murdered by MichaelStone in Kent, and Stuart Lubbock, who was found drowned in Michael

Barrymore's swimming pool. Criminal defence lawyers said they would now bereviewing all the cases in which Dr Heath was involved. He was examined for his role in two murder cases. Steven Puaca was jailed at Norwich Crown Court in 2002 for killing Miss Tindsley, 55. His conviction was quashed last November by the Court of Appeal. Kenneth Fraser faced an Old Bailey trial, also in 2002, for murdering Miss Moore, 56, but was cleared”.

Sandra Laville filed a further report four days later, in which she wrote:

“An accountant serving life for murdering his mother's best friend is one ofseveral cases which could be taken to the Court of Appeal after a leading Home Office pathologist was condemned for bungling postmortem examinations in anofficial inquiry into his work.

“Experts say the implications of the judgment against the pathologist, MichaelHeath, who has carried out thousands of postmortem examinations in criminalcases, could be widespread. Lawyers are reviewing cases to examine whetherconvictions based primarily on evidence from Dr Heath are unsafe. One of thoseconvicted is considering taking legal action against him.

“In addition, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) is expected to consider a number of cases in the light of the doubts cast over Dr Heath's work bya disciplinary panel which found last week that he had fallen short of the standards required by his profession in two murder cases. Dr Heath was adamant in both cases that a murder had taken place, but other pathologists fundamentally disagreed with his conclusions. One man had his conviction quashed on appeal and another was acquitted as a result of the serious doubts raised over Dr Heath's postmortem conclusions. He faces the prospect of being struck off the register next month when the Home Office Advisory Board considers what sanctions should be taken against him.

“Among the cases causing concern as a result of the disciplinary judgment is that of Simon Hall, 27, who was convicted in 2003 of killing Joan Albert, 79. The CCRC is examining his case. Mr Hall, an accountant from Capel St Mary, near Ipswich, has maintained his innocence ever since he was convicted in 2003 of stabbing Mrs Albert to death at her home in Capel St Mary. Mrs Albert was found dead by a neighbour in the hallway of her home on December 16 2001. She had suffered stab wounds inflicted by a knife taken from the house. Mr Hall's alibi was that he went clubbing until the early hours. Campbell Malone, his solicitor, said:

‘There are criticisms of steps that Dr Heath didn't take, which may have excluded Simon. In addition, there was a failure to establish a time of death, which affects his alibi.’

“One of the cases in which Dr Heath has been severely criticised include that of Victor Boreman. His murder conviction was quashed this year after Appeal Court judges ruled the evidence given by Dr Heath was ‘discredited’ and may have misled the jury. The judges said the findings of several other pathologists seriously undermined Dr Heath's evidence.

“Mr Boreman and his co-defendants, Malcolm Byrne, 34, and Michael Byrne, 41, spent 10 years in prison for the murder of a man in south-east London in 1996. "I am exploring the options for taking a civil case against Dr Heath," Mr Boreman said. "I spent 10 years, two months and two weeks in prison and I feel there should now be a wider investigation. Dr Heath wasn't doing this alone. He is being used as a scapegoat for the system. Other cases which are likely to be reviewed include that of Michael Stone, who was convicted of the murder of Lin and Megan Russell in Kent in 1996.

“Derek Pounder, of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Aberdeen University, said the problems exposed were symptomatic of a deeper problem. ‘More than 50% of forensic pathologists work single-handedly, rather than out of an institute or university as they once did’, Professor Pounder said. ‘What that means is there is no day-to-day discussion between colleagues about the cases they are involved in. Therefore any aberrant opinion becomes uncontrolled within the system over a number of years’”.

Pounder’s comments were widely taken to refer specifically to Dr Heath, who was known to work from his remote home, a large mansion in northern Norfolk - with little or no contact with university schools of pathology or medicine. It was a devastating observation on what can go wrong in this vital profession.

It was immediately after the death of Stuart Lubbock had been pronounced at 8.23am that morning that Dr Heath was summoned at short notice to carry out the initial autopsy, which he began at about 4.40pm that day.

His initial conclusions, based on his autopsy, were challenged to a greater or lesser degree by the other three Pathologists brought in to throw light on how Stuart Lubbock had died.

The other three pathologists, as we shall see, came to the conclusion that Stuart Lubbock could well have died from a combination of asphyxia and a serious sexual assault on him, perhaps passing out, becoming unconscious or maybe suffering a heart attack. They were by no means convinced that he had just ‘drowned’, or died from ‘immersion’, as Dr Heath put it.

Let us look straightaway at five serious criticisms made of Dr Heath’s autopsy by the other three pathologists who were called in by first the Coroner and then Police to give them a ‘second opinion’.

Between them, they said that Dr Heath:

• failed to make any note whatsoever of the length or depth of the ‘lacerations’ in Stuart’s anus
• failed to make any description at all of the anal canal
• failed to make a histological examination of the lungs (normal pathology practice)
• failed to call for a sample of water from the swimming pool which would have provided evidence of diatoms in the pool (normal pathology practice)
• failed even to mention the 'obvious petechiae' (pin-head size blood spots) which other pathologists said pointed to asphyxiation as the cause of the death, not drowning.

In addition, we note how Dr Heath, in giving his opinion on the cause of Stuart’s death, assumed without question that Stuart had been in the swimming pool and had drowned in the pool; by contrast, the other Pathologists actively considered the possibility that he might have been put there, having died earlier. Sadly, the Pathologists were not to know that the very idea that Stuart had ever been in that swimming pool was a lie.

Let us start with Professor Jack Crane, then - and now - the State Pathologist for Northern Ireland and Professor of Forensic Medicine at the Queens University of Belfast. He is also Consultant in Pathology to the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Board. He has the following letters after his name: M.B., B.Ch., FRCPath, DMJ (Clin et Path) and FFPathRCPI. It can be seen from this list that here we have an undisputed top expert.

Here are some extracts from his report:

“In this case there is no unequivocal evidence to deduce that death was due to drowning - and whilst this obviously remains a possibility, it is just as conceivable that Stuart Lubbock was already dead when he entered the water”.

Now another extract: “It is a matter of concern that no histological examination of the lungs was made in this case [by Dr Heath], nor was there any examination of a water sample from the pool to determine if diatoms were present”. The lack of a histological examination was also criticised by another pathologist, Professor Christopher Milroy.

The relevance of Dr Heath’s failure to carry out a histological examination of the lungs, and his failure to call for a water sample from the pool, is that these two failures deprived the other pathologists of a large amount of potentially crucial forensic evidence relating to Stuart’s death. If Dr Heath had carried out these tests, all the other pathologists might have been able to be much more certain about the cause of death.

For example, was the water found in Stuart Lubbock’s lungs from the swimming pool, or from the jacuzzi? He could well have been assaulted and asphyxiated in the jacuzzi.

The failure to examine the swimming pool for diatoms was also crucial because it deprived the pathologists and the police from knowing with certainty whether Stuart had been in that pool or not. On our analysis, Stuart was never in that swimming pool. Had samples been taken from the pool, they might well have revealed that fact. Dr Heath’s action shut down for ever any possibility of using the swimming pool water as evidence as to the cause of death.

Now we come on to Professor Crane’s main conclusions:

“On admission to hospital, Stuart Lubbock’s body temperature was considerably below normal levels, i.e. he was hypothermic. His rectal temperature was recorded as 29.3 degrees C (normal being about 37.4 degrees C). I do not think, however, that death was due to hypothermia. In those cases where hypothermia develops as a result of immersion in cold water, this leads to loss of consciousness and as a result of this unconscious state the victim then drowns”.

“The temperature of the pool water as recorded by Mr Browne [Barrymore’s PA) was 75 degrees F (23.9 degrees C). This is not in my opinion likely to have led to hypothermia in a healthy conscious individual”.

“It seems to me more probable that the fall in Mr Lubbock’s temperature was as a result of the accelerated fall in body temperature which occurs after death when a body is immersed”.

In passing, we note here that if Stuart had died outside, or in or near the jacuzzi, as we suggest may have happened, and his body was effectively lying in the open air up to an hour or more as we believe is very possible, then those circumstances would also have caused an accelerated fall in his body temperature.

Professor Crane continues:

“It is important, in my opinion, to consider other possible causes and/or mechanisms of death in this case for two reasons:

1) the actual circumstances surrounding the death of Stuart Lubbock are unclear and
2) because there was no unequivocal signs of drowning.

“One such possible cause is asphyxia, i.e. mechanical interference with breathing, such as by obstructing the mouth and nose. As with drowning, there are no unequivocal signs of asphyxia; however it is well recognized that increased venous pressure in the head associated with the phenomenon may be associated with the formation of multiple pinhead-sized haemorrhages, petechial haemorrhages, in the skin of the face, in the lining of the eyelids, over the eyeballs and in the lining of the mouth.

“I note that Dr. Heath’s autopsy on Stuart Lubbock revealed the presence of significant recent injuries to the anus. The anus was dilated, its margin was bruised, and there were lacerations at the 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock positions. The depth or lengths of these lacerations were not included in Dr. Heath’s report, nor is there any description of the lining of the anal canal. It is quite clear from the post-mortem photographs that there continued to be significant bleeding from the anal lacerations even in the mortuary…

“These injuries”, continued Professor Crane, “were indicative of a serious sexual assault. They were caused by the forceful insertion of a hard object into the anus. They could not, in my view, have been caused by consensual anal intercourse and would be in keeping with the insertion of a large object or by the practice of ‘fisting’, whereby a clenched fist is forced into the anus.

“If Lubbock was conscious whilst this was taking place, he would have experienced severe pain and is likely to have had to have been forcibly restrained. It also seems highly likely that he would have been screaming or crying out in pain. Bleeding would have occurred immediately after the event and would have been of a significant amount, staining the deceased’s clothes, bedding etc.

“It is my view that there would have been considerable pain and discomfort immediately after sustaining the anal injuries, causing some degree of incapacity. He would not have been able to walk normally or to undertake swimming in the pool. Since there were no apparent marks of restraint on Stuart Lubbock’s body, nor, as far as I am aware, reports by the other occupants of the house of his shouting or screaming, it seems likely that he was in some way incapacitated when sexually assaulted. The most likely cause of such incapacity is drink/drugs or a combination of both”.

Let us summarise Professor Crane’s very significant opinions:

First - he says that there is nothing in the findings that amounts to proof that Stuart was ‘drowned’. He noted - rightly, and in careful language – that “the actual circumstances surrounding the death of Stuart Lubbock are unclear”.

Professor Crane made this observation without being able to read the various witness statements, including from those who claimed to have found the body in the pool and who purported to have carried out a rescue attempt. If he was sceptical about their accounts, he would surely have been much more sceptical had he actually been allowed to read those statements, and learn for himself something of the huge contradictions within those statements.

Second - Professor Crane said that Stuart must have been ‘incapacitated in some way’, so that he did not cry out when being assaulted. None of the witnesses mentioned Stuart crying out in pain. He mentions as possible sources of that incapacity: (a) possible asphyxiation or (b) the possibility that by the time of the assault Stuart was so high on drugs that he did not know what was happening, since he would have been so numbed as to be ‘dead’ to any pain.

Third - Professor Crane said that Dr Heath’s failure to record the details of the state of Stuart’s anus, taken together with his failure to ask for a histological examination of the lungs and to search the swimming pool for diatoms, amounted in Dr Crane’s view to three serious failures in normal pathology practice. It raises the possibility, we think, that for whatever reason, Dr Heath may in his autopsy have deliberately wanted to minimise the seriousness of Stuart Lubbock’s injuries.

Did Dr Heath also deliberately withhold vital evidence from those investigating his death? We realise that this is a very contentious suggestion that we are raising here. But we bear in mind the extent to which Dr Heath’s conclusions in other cases have been the subject of sustained - and correct - criticisms from his fellow pathologists. Either these omissions were the result of incompetence. Or they were deliberate omissions. We must remember here the hopelessly inadequate briefing given by D.C. Mark Dunion to all four pathologists on 11 December. It is in effect the same issue. Was that also just poor work? Or is it a deliberate covering up of the truth?

Fourth - Professor Crane spoke of Dr Heath’s failure to ask for a histology examination of the lungs and to take a sample of the swimming pool water. Water was found in Stuart’s body, his lungs and digestive tract.

Dr Heath’s failures meant that no-one could say what the source of that water was. Professor Crane also noted that this had lessened the chances of finding out whether there were any natural causes which led to Stuart’s death, though no-one has found any evidence of this.

The Lubbock Trust has lodged formal complaints to the General Medical Council about Dr Heath’s autopsies concerning this case and that of another young man - this time a homosexual - whose case we have been investigating, that of Alec Barrack. Alec almost certainly died, back in 1996, in a sado-masochistic episode which went wrong - a case where once again Dr Heath’s findings have been under sustained attack. We await the outcome of the GMC’s investigations.

The death of Alec Barrett occurred at the home of an employee of the Crown Prosecution Service, Robert Thompson Simpson, who was known to be into sado-masochistic practices. The investigation into Alec’s death was led by a known active homosexual, Detective Chief Inspector David Baff. Baff committed suicide (or so it was assumed) - he was found hanged in his own flat – shortly before Alec’s mother was due to meet him to discuss serious failings in the police investigation.

It is another case where there is powerful evidence of a cover-up. And Alec’s surviving mother blames Dr Heath for many aspects of his autopsy, which she says helped to prevent Thompson being charged with an offence. A forthcoming book by Doris Barrack [now published - T.B.] will explore this case in greater detail.

Before going on to look at the conclusions of the other two pathologists in the case, let us pause to look at how Dr Heath set out his conclusions, after finishing his autopsy on Saturday 31 March.

There are five pages of findings. The key points we need to note are:

1) Two scars, about 1” and 3” long, on Stuart’s neck, and a ½” scar on the front of the left wrist

2) The following external injuries:

• 1” abrasion on the front of the right side of the pelvis
• two 1” bruises over the left spine of the shoulder blade
• 1” ‘fine linear abrasion’ over the right thigh
• two 1” bruises on the outer left calf
• 5 tiny bruises over the left Achilles heel

3) The following recent internal injuries:

• patchy bruising over the back and left side of the scalp
• bruises over both shoulder blades
• a bruise over the lumbar spine

4) Blood found in the mouth and the right nostril

5) ‘No petechial haemorrhages in the conjunctivae or mucosa of the mouth’ [petechial haemorrhages are tiny, pin-head size blood spots that are diagnostic of asphyxiation]

6) The anus:

a) dilatation
b) ‘extensive bruising at 6 o’clock’
c) two lacerations at 6 o’clock
d) laceration and inflammation at 12 o’clock.

His conclusions, reached on 24 April, were: “Death was due to immersion…the changes to the anus were consistent with penetration by a firm object; the changes to the anal canal appeared recent”.

On 1 June, after police had asked him to clarify certain points from his earlier conclusions, he wrote: “In my opinion, the injuries to Stuart Lubbock’s anus would have produced severe pain and discomfort and, as a result of incompetence of the anal canal, soiling of undergarments…after viewing the video recording, it is my opinion that the injuries to the anal canal were not present at the time Stuart was observed on video outside the Millennium Night Club. The injuries, in my opinion, would therefore have been inflicted after Stuart Lubbock was observed on the video”.

It is noteworthy that Dr Heath still does not connect in any way the severe injuries to Stuart’s anus with his death. He has not in the slightest changed his opinion that this was a death ‘due to immersion’.

Now we come to the conclusions of Dr Ian Maddison Calder, a Consultant Pathologist at the Wellcome Department of Comparative Neurology, Cambridge, with a similar string of qualifications to those of Professor Crane, including his Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists, of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians, and with a Diploma in Medical Jurisprudence.

Here are his lead conclusions:

• He agrees that ‘the primary cause of death was immersion’ but then goes on to refer to ‘several confounding factors’.

• He is concerned that the ‘lungs are congested with water’ but adds that he cannot determine whether this is entirely due to inhaling water. He endorses Professor Crane’s criticism of Dr Heath that “it is unfortunate that no lung material is available for laboratory examination”.

• He says that the photographs show the possibility of ‘partial pressure asphyxia’.

• He says that the ‘severe damage to Stuart’s anus’ - with laceration and bruising - would have been caused by the insertion of some firm object of considerably greater diameter than the anus…causing extreme pain, bleeding and certainly difficulty in walking or swimming’.

• He adds that ‘it is surprising that these [Stuart’s severe anal injuries) were not noticed at the scene, on clothes, or in the A & E Department…there had been considerable later loss of blood as shown by the blood staining of the sheet shown in the autopsy photographs’.

• He notes that Stuart’s body must have lost a lot of heat quickly, but states that drowning is only ‘the most probable’ cause of this. (He does not exclude the possibility of, for example, Stuart’s body having been thrown into the swimming pool, or even on the
poolside for say an hour or so. And of course he too was misled by the police’s view that Stuart really had been in the swimming pool).

• He concludes that as to the cause of death: “Asphyxia due to the physical constriction of the airway has to be considered”.

It appears that throughout his report, Dr Calder assumes as a fact that Stuart’s body had been in the swimming pool for some time. He does not, as does Professor Crane, express doubt as to the precise circumstances in which Stuart was found. He takes that as given.

Finally we turn to the report of Professor Christopher Mark Milroy, Professor of Forensic Pathology at Sheffield University and also a Home Office Consultant Pathologist. His qualifications include M.B.Ch.B., M.D., FRCPath and DMJ.

He was brought in to give a second opinion at the express request of the Coroner - before the Police’s decision to invite Dr Calder and Professor Crane to give their opinions. It was not the police who asked for a second opinion - it was the Coroner, and due credit must be given to her for that.

Assuming nothing, he starts off with a declaration that:

“This man was apparently found floating in the swimming pool”. He is the only one of the four pathologists, so far as we are aware, to have openly expressed any degree of scepticism about the claims that he was found in the pool.

His findings are similar to those of Professor Crane. He refers to ‘deep bruising’ of the tissues over the shoulder blades and ‘extensive bruising and abrasions’ in and around the anus.

Significantly, he makes this additional finding: “Photographs of the face show congestion with obvious petechiae on the upper face and forehead, including the eyelids”.

How these ‘obvious’ petechiae were missed by Dr Heath must remain a matter for conjecture.

Professor Milroy does not think that the various bruises show any evidence of restraint - or to put it another way, he saw no signs that Stuart had responded to restraint by resisting.

Commenting on Stuart being found in a swimming pool, Milroy mentions a number of reasons why bodies may be found in swimming pools, including:

a) having drowned, including falling in

b) having been held under water

c) having drowned because they have become hypothermic (extremely cold) in a cold pool

d) having been intoxicated by alcohol or drugs

e) having drowned through some natural disease

f) an already dead body being disposed of into the pool.

Here, then, we see a sceptical Professor Milroy pointing out several explanations as to why an apparently fit and healthy man may be found in a swimming pool, but even he - thoroughly misled by Essex Police as he undoubtedly was - did not raise the possibility that Stuart may have simply just been in the jacuzzi, and may therefore never have even been in the swimming pool.

Milroy in his conclusions makes the following significant observation:

“The presence of the anal canal damage and the petechiae in the face does raise the possibility that this person has died during some form of sexual activity. Such a mechanism of death might include smothering or some other asphyxial death due to constriction of the upper airway…it is not possible to distinguish between a death occurring in or outside of the pool.

Another possible mechanism of death is following rectal ‘fisting’, where the fist and/or sometimes the forearm is inserted into the rectum”. He adds: “This activity may be accompanied by the abuse of alkyl nitrites - so-called ‘poppers’ - which can cause sudden death themselves, but are difficult to identify in post-mortem blood”.

Once again, Professor Milroy takes a swipe at Dr Heath’s failings in his autopsy: “Histological examination of the heart and lungs and other organs would [have assisted], and is accepted as standard practice in all suspicious deaths. I am not aware of any histological examination having been performed’.

That degree of incompetence is something that Dr Heath may one day have to explain to another disciplinary tribunal, or to the General Medical Council, as they enquire into his alleged competence in this and other cases.

In his final conclusion, Milroy covers five possible options for the cause of death, as follows:

a) drowning, or

b) hypothermia followed by drowning, or

c) drug-related intoxication followed by drowning, or

d) upper airway obstruction followed by disposal of the body in the pool and subsequent recovery, or

e) death following sexual activity or drug use in sexual activity followed by disposal of the body in the pool and subsequent recovery.

It must follow from the above that he would also not exclude the possibility of asphyxiation or death during sexual activity followed by a ‘staged’, faked drowning - which is the conclusion of our analysis, and which we will unfold in full shortly.

The Coroner’s notes, made after the four pathologists had made their reports on Stuart’s body, perpetuate the story that Stuart was found in the swimming pool: “Unidentified male found in swimming pool”. There is no realisation by the Coroner at this stage that Stuart may never have been in the pool at all.

A more accurate statement would have been: Unidentified male found at side of swimming pool. Three witnesses claim to have seen him in the pool and pulled him out”.

A bruise over the lumbar spine was noted. The Coroner’s initial report also stated: “No petechiae in eyes or haemorrhages - surprising in view of the other Pathologists finding ample evidence of petechiae”.

Here the Coroner is alerting us to one of the discrepancies between Dr Heath’s initial autopsy and the findings of the other three Pathologists.

One final observation we make in this chapter. Notice that not one of the pathologists has commented on the difficulties that Simon Shaw, assisted so it is claimed by James Futers, might have had in hauling Stuart’s body out of the swimming pool from six feet under the water.

According to their garbled account, Simon ‘pushed’ while ‘the other’ (claimed to be Futers) pulled. Would this not have caused abrasions, as a 12-stone body was hauled over the stone- or tile-clad edge of the swimming pool? (Futers and Shaw claim they pulled him up over the side, not at the shallow end where the steps were, which would have been the obvious way to pull him out).

Would the force that would be needed to do so, the grip - for example - which would need to be used on the upper part of his body, not leave pressure marks or bruises on, say, Stuart’s arms or shoulders, if he really was yanked from the water, as claimed?

Essex Police presumably did not ask the pathologists to comment on this, having simply told the pathologists that he had been pulled from the water and left it that. Nor did Essex Police get any expert opinion, so far as we are aware, of how easy or difficult it would have been for Futers and Shaw to perform such an operation on a 12-stone dead man.

Had they done so, they might have gone on to press Shaw and Futers much more closely about their incredible accounts of Stuart’s rescue. But the police were not apparent interested in doing so. They had their agenda.

We will now go on in our next chapter to see what the ambulance staff, paramedics, nurses at the hospital and doctors had to say about Stuart’s body. This was to prove a crucial aspect of the case from Michael Barrymore’s point of view. As we shall see, his most recent ‘trump card’ has been the fact - so he says - that none of the medics saw any sign of injury on Stuart after his body was removed from his house.


The medics’ verdict

The verdict of the Ambulance



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