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Medical Evidence

12 Kimbolton Road May 2009
12 Kimbolton Road May 2009

“Robert Couchman sworn: I am a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, practising in Bedford, and Mayor of the Borough. On Sunday night, the 10th of May, at about a quarter before twelve, I was sent for to attend Mr. Budd at his house, as he had been badly hurt. When I reached the house I found Mr. Budd sitting in an arm chair in the bedroom; Mrs. Budd was with him. Mr.Budd told me he had been assaulted in a most aggravated and a most unprovoked manner. His face and his clothes at the time were covered with blood. He said he had been knocked down twice and stunned. I asked him if he knew who did it, and he said “No, as it was dark at the time”. I then proceeded to examine the injuries he had received. I found a slight wound about half an inch in length on the left cheek, a little below the eye; there was also a fracture of the nose. I did not then discover any other injuries about him, and advised him to go to bed. He appeared perfectly sober at the time. I offered to assist him in undressing, but he said no, he could do that himself. He did undress himself almost, and got into bed. I remained in the room some time with Mrs. Budd, and when I left he was apparently in a quiet sleep. Between three and four o’clock on Monday morning I received another message to go Mr. Budd’s house. I went, and found him dead on my arrival: he had not been dead many minutes. On Monday I made a post-mortem examination of the body, assisted by Mr. Thurnall. We found an abrasion of the skin on the forehead, a little above the right eye, in four places – a wound about half an inch an inch or so below the left eye, and extending through the integuements – contusions on both sides on the upper part of the nose and under the eyes – a fracture of both nasal bones, and clotted blood in the nostrils - pupils of both eyes neither contracted nor dilated – bruises on the front and right side of the abdomen just below the ribs – bruises on the inner side of the right and in front of the left knee – several bruises on the upper part of the back and on the shoulders – limbs quite rigid. On examining the head we found on removing the scalp from the front part there was extravasation of blood between the peri-cranium and the frontal bone above each orbit, more especially on the right side, corresponding with the situation of the abrasion of the skin on the external parts. On removing the scalp from the back of the head there was effusion of blood over the occipital bone – when removing the calvarium about 3 ounces of blood escaped, and upon exposing the brain between it and the dura mater, on the right side and anterior part of the brain, a clot of about 4 ounces of blood was found between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater – the membrane and substances of the brain were quite healthy, and the ventricles empty – on removing the brain from the skull a fracture of the skull was found an inch and a half in length – the fracture was of a zig-zag form, with slight depression of the orbital plate of the skull on the left side of the frontal bone. On examining the chest all the thoracic viscera were found healthy. The stomach contained about 2 ounces of dark brown-coloured fluid, and the mucous coat of the stomach was slightly congested – the intestines, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and bladder were all quite healthy. Judging from what I saw it is my opinion that the pressure upon the brain, from extravasation of blood, was the cause of death, and that such extravasation was produced by external violence”.

“Cross-examined by Mr. Metcalfe: the rupture was on the right side of the back part of the head, and might have been produced by a blow with the fist, or by a fall on stones”.

“By Serjeant Tozer: I saw the rupture. I think that death was caused by a rush of blood suddenly. I do not think that extravasation took place gradually”.

“By the Judge: When I saw Mr. Budd he was perfectly conscious, and appeared to be himself in every way. I did not observe the slightest confusion in his mind”.

“In re-examination, Mr. Couchman said he was of opinion that the rupture might have preceded death half-an-hour. A blow struck between 11 and 12 might cause a rupture between three and four. This he explained by saying that the loss of blood from the nose and face would tend to diminish the action of the heart, and less blood would consequently flow to the head, and under such a condition the rupture most probably would not take place. After being in bed some time, re-action would occur and then a rupture would be produced. The wounds on the nose and face were undoubtedly produced by blows; the injury to the head might have been produced by a fall, or a kick”.

“By the Judge: There was no symptom of extravasation of blood when I saw Mr. Budd”.

“William Thurnall sworn: I am a medical man residing in Bedford, of twenty-five years practice. I fully agree with Mr. Couchman as to the cause of death. I have no doubt that the injuries to the face were produced by manual violence; the wound in the head might have been produced by manual violence or by a fall”.

“This closed the case for the prosecution”.