MURDER victim Ian Mark Smith suffered more than 30 separate injuries after being attacked by a gang of men.
Mr Smith, 22, of Boycott Way, South Elmsall, died following the vicious assault, which took place outside the post office on Barnsley Road on February 19.
John Dean Richardson, 44, of Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam, Neil Brown, 29, and Bradley Jake Parkin, 22, both of Mallard Mews, South Elmsall, and Liam Mark Ackroyd, 22, of Bell Lane, Ackworth, all deny murder and violent disorder. John Simon Richardson, 23, of Kinsley House Crescent, Fitzwilliam, pleaded guilty to murder before the trial started.
Leeds Crown Court heard how Mr Smith had around 16 injuries, including several fractured bones, cuts, and bruises to his head and face alone. The rest of the injuries were on his arms and hands with some minor injuries on his back.
Forensic pathologist Dr Peter Cooper told the court how four of the external injuries formed a line over and below his right ear, and that it was likely these injuries were caused by a forceful blow from an object such as a baseball bat. He said the injuries were likely to have been the cause of Mr Smith’s death after they led to a traumatic subarachnoid haemorrhage - a bleeding on the membrane of the brain.
Dr Cooper said: “There would have been a blow to the head. This would have caused a violent movement of the head. It was a forceful blow that has cracked the skull and it is highly likely that was the blow that caused the fatal bleed.
“It could have been just one blow that caused the bleed and, in this case, the death.”
Dr Cooper also said some of the cuts and bruises on Mr Smith’s arms and forearms could have been caused by him defending himself and warding off blows from his attackers.
The court heard how Richardson Senior, Ackroyd, Parkin and Brown all denied any involvement during police interviews. The four men admitted being at the scene but denied hitting Mr Smith.
Ackroyd, Parkin and Brown said they went with Richardson Junior to the aid of Richardson Senior, who was being attacked.
Parkin told police that he tried to stop the attack and persuaded his friends to leave. And in a prepared statement Brown told police: “I saw him (Richardson Junior) with something like a hammer handle, grouped around someone on the floor. I was not involved in the group around that person. I told him to stop because he had enough and we all went back to my house.”
Ackroyd said he ran away scared after seeing Richardson Junior hitting Mr Smith around the head. And Richardson Senior told police he must have been unconscious after being attacked by Mr Smith before the others arrived.
The jury also heard from forensic expert Valerie Whitford, who examined footprints on Mr Smith’s t-shirt. She compared them with several pairs of footwear, including some Fred Perry trainers found in the bedroom of Parkin.
She said: “There was a fairly extensive pattern with alternating rows of small studs. I cannot say it was definitely caused by that shoe due to the movement but the pattern and size matches the right shoe.”
The footprints were found in a spot on the t-shirt close to Mr Smith’s neck, but away from his more severe injuries. Small spots of blood matching the DNA profile of Mr Smith were found on Richardson Senior’s shoes, jeans and hooded jacket.
The jury also watched CCTV footage of Mr Smith’s murder. The images showed the former soldier being chased by four men from the Mega Love takeaway on Barnsley Road, around the market carpark and back to the post office. The footage then showed blurry images of Mr Smith being attacked by a group of people.
The trial continues.