A pathologist today (Wednesday) told a jury that Louth man Richard Woods would have died “rapidly” after becoming trapped between the steps of a loft ladder at his home in the town.
Professor Guy Rutty told the jury at Lincoln Crown Court that Richard’s death was due to positional asphyxiation, with alcohol intoxication being a contributory factor.
He said that tests showed the 32 year old had an alcohol level of 276 mgs per 100 mls of blood compared, with the legal limit for drivers of 80 mgs. Traces of cocaine and prescription drugs were also found.
Professor Rutty said that Richard had become stuck between two of the steps of the ladder in such a way that even if he was sober he would have died.
“He was wedged in. Had he been completely sober he would still have died. You don’t need any alcohol for him to have died.
“It should be regarded as death that was due to a lack of oxygen. The position of his body resulted in a lack of oxygen and asphyxia.
“I think that in this case death would have occurred very rapidly after Richard Woods came to be in this position.”
Professor Rutty said the effect of the alcohol would have been to slow down Richard’s breathing.
“Alcohol is a depressant. I included it in the cause of death as a contributory factor because I think it will have added to the effect.”
Harry Scott, 23, of Ramsgate, Louth, denies a charge of manslaughter as a result of an incident on 12 January last year.
Scott is alleged to have trapped Richard Woods in the loft of his home in Spring Terrace, Louth. Richard tried to climb out but became wedged between two steps of the loft ladder and was asphyxiated.
Scott is alleged to have repeatedly struck him with a length of wood while he was trapped, rather than making any effort to help him.
The prosecution say that Scott bullied Richard Woods, who has been described as a shy and vulnerable man.
The trial continues.