Northaw traveller decapitated after death, court told

THE body of beheaded Northaw traveller John Finney was mutilated after his death, a murder trial has heard. The details emerged on Monday when pathologist Dr

THE body of beheaded Northaw traveller John Finney was mutilated after his death, a murder trial has heard.

The details emerged on Monday when pathologist Dr Simon Poole, who carried out Mr Finney's post-mortem examination, took the stand.

Prosecutor William Harbage QC asked when he thought the father-of-four's head had been removed.

"Decapitation occurred after death," Dr Poole said.


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"Were you able to identify a cause of death?"

"No," he replied.

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"Are you able to determine the precise time of death?"

"No."

Mr Harbage then asked: "Should the jury understand that the cause of death is likely, in your view, to be associated with the head?"

"Absolutely, yes."

Dr Poole said Mr Finney's hands had been removed by clean incision and that his buttocks had been slashed with a "sharp-bladed tool such as a knife".

He also said something "sharp-edged" was used to sever Mr Finney's head, and described his body as being in a "limited state of decomposition".

Mr Harbage asked what the latter suggested, to which Dr Poole replied: "That the body had not been left at the site of deposition for a significant period of time."

This, he explained, suggested the body had been stored at a different site and in "dry refrigeration, or even freezing".

In cross-examination, Alexander Cameron QC, for the defence, asked Dr Poole if he was able to decide whether the body had been refrigerated or frozen.

"No," he replied.

The naked, headless and handless body of Mr Finney, 42, was found behind a garage block in Ickleford, near Hitchin, on March 14 last year, two weeks after he disappeared from his home at Park Farm, in Northaw Road West.

His head and hands have not been recovered.

The four defendants in the dock are Mark Curran, 35, of Audley Close, Muswell Hill, Norman Jones, 50, of Princess Park Manor, New Barnet, Joseph Jones, 24, of Harlech Road, New Barnet and Gary Mark Lattimore, 40, of Little Heath Road, Bexleyheath.

They all deny murder.

The case, which is expected to last for six weeks at St Albans Crown Court, continues.

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