Page last updated at 14:41 GMT, Friday, 18 July 2008 15:41 UK

Attack led to death 'year later'

A pathologist has told a murder trial a brain injury led to a man's death more than a year after he was attacked.

Gary Playle, 45, was admitted to hospital after being found opposite the Bricklayers Arms pub in Bedford, on 21 January, 2006.

Mr Playle, of Cardington Road in Bedford, died in hospital on 6 February 2007, having never regained consciousness, Luton Crown Court heard.

Ronnie Cramb-Todd, 34, of Kempster Close, Bedford, denies his murder.

Dr Nicholas Hunt said Mr Playle had bruising on his face and head that could not have been caused merely by punches.

He would not have died from bronchial pneumonia had it not been for those head injuries
Dr Nicholas Hunt

"The level of trauma is of the kind seen from stamping, kicking, falling from a significant height or being involved in a road traffic accident," he told jurors.

"If someone is seriously injured in this way and is essentially bed-bound then they are at risk of developing chest infections because they have lost the usual mechanisms for dealing with secretions that build up, for example coughing.

Face stamped on

"They can be treated with antibiotics but there may come a time when the ability of the antibiotic to help them decreases.

"He would not have died from bronchial pneumonia had it not been for those head injuries."

Dr John Payne-James, an expert on wound causation, said it was his view, having looking at photographs of the victim after the attack, that his face had been stamped on at least twice.

Mr Playle lived with his long term partner and three children.

The prosecution allege that Mr Cramb-Todd attacked him in the street outside a house in Fenlake Road, Bedford, because he was angry that Mr Playle had ejected him from the house for grabbing his partner's bottom.

The case continues.

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