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Court told of force used to stab man, 48, with scissors

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 31, 2012

Truro Court

Court told of force used to stab man, 48, with scissors

A forensic pathologist told a court yesterday it was "extremely unlikely" a man suffered a fatal wound from scissors that had been thrown at him.

Dr Russell Delaney, Home Office registered forensic pathologist, gave evidence at Truro Crown Court in the murder trial of 49-year-old Sandra Clinch.

The four-times-married mother-of-five is accused of stabbing her husband Alan Clinch, 48, in the heart with a pair of scissors during a row over housework.

She denies murder and claims she threw the scissors at Mr Clinch who later died from a single stab wound.

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He was pronounced dead in hospital on May 13 this year following the incident at the couple's home in Darite, near Liskeard.

Dr Delaney said the scissors went through the upper left hand side of his chest, slicing through the coronary artery that supplies the heart with blood.

He said: "The proposed mechanism (throwing) would be extremely unlikely to cause the scissors to penetrate the clothes and penetrate the skin and have enough energy to continue into the body."

When the pair of red scissors were presented to Dr Delaney in a covered box, Clinch wept from the dock.

Dr Delaney said the scissors had been plunged 3-4in (10-12cm) into Mr Clinch's chest, entering between two ribs.

Paul Dunkels, QC, prosecuting, asked him: "Were these survivable injures?"

He replied: "These were very serious injuries and in my opinion in the vast majority of cases, if not almost every single one, this would have been a fatal injury."

Dr Delaney said when he carried out a post mortem examination on the dead man he found a cut on the edge of his right index finger.

He said: "It may have been of the defensive type (of wound) where the hands are brought up to the body to protect itself."

Dr Delaney said if a sharp tipped object been used instead of the blunter scissors only a mild level of force would have been required to create the wound.

Under cross-examination from Andrew Langdon, QC, defending, Dr Delaney said exactly how much force would have been required using the scissors was not his area of expertise and he could only give an opinion.

Dr Delaney said he had suggested a forensic engineer would be better qualified to answer the question.

Mr Langdon asked, of the fatal stab cases he had ever dealt with, how many involved a weapon being thrown.

He replied: "I can't recall a knife or other object has been thrown and caused a fatal injury."

Dr Delaney agreed with Mr Langdon the cut to Mr Clinch's finger may have been an unrelated injury.

On the day of the tragedy the couple were expecting friends for lunch and a row flared when she asked him to tidy up and he refused.

Clinch dialled 999 and carried out chest compressions on her husband until help arrived.

When police arrived she said: "I didn't mean to, I was just angry with him."

The trial continues.

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