Head injuries caused death - jury is told

A WESTON man died shortly after suffering ‘traumatic’ head injuries, a jury has been told as his housemate stands trial over his alleged murder.

Paul Birch, aged 26, required surgery to stem bleeding around his brain after he was attacked by Martin Hill, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Hill is accused of murdering his flatmate after a fight broke out at the bedsit they shared in Alfred Street, Weston, on May 31. He denies the charge and the jury is considering its verdict today (Fri).

An argument ensued after Mr Birch bought a �20 bike from Hill and demanded a refund after it was taken from him in the street, jurors were told during the early stages of the trial.

The fight followed and 37-year-old Hill allegedly punched his housemate before stamping on his head with such force it ‘bounced’.


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Michael Fitton, prosecuting, told the jury on Monday that paramedics were called to the house three times before Mr Birch agreed to go for treatment.

Scans at Weston General Hospital the day after he was injured revealed a blood clot which was operated on at Frenchay Hospital on June 2. His condition deteriorated after surgery and he died the following day.

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Seth Love, a neurosurgical consultant, said his analysis of Mr Birch’s brain clearly showed signs of a head injury in the days leading up to his death.

He said: “Mr Birch suffered from traumatic head injuries sustained within hours of his death.

“In my opinion he wouldn’t have bled at the time had he not been subjected to traumas to the head.”

Professor Love said a pre-existing liver condition, caused partly by alcoholism, complicated his treatment and slowed down blood clotting both after the alleged attack and following surgery.

A CT scan taken at Weston General Hospital revealed bleeding and he was transferred to specialists at Frenchay to ease the pressure that was building up on his brain.

Surgeon Andrew Bacon said Mr Birch had appeared dazed ahead of his operation and feared what affect his head injuries would have if action was not taken quickly.

He said: “He was conscious but confused. He wasn’t too co-operative.”

Ahead of the operation, Mr Bacon said he saw bruising to several parts of Birch’s face and during surgery he found a collection of blood clots which were consistent with a recent head injury.

But he found nothing to suggest he would not make a full recovery after a successful procedure.

He said: “At the end of the operation I was completely satisfied that the pressure had been taken off the brain and the operation had achieved everything I had intended it to.

“But because of his (liver) disease his recovery was affected.”

Mr Birch was taken to intensive care where his condition deteriorated and he died the next day.

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