FORK-lift truck driver Brian Buckley should be convicted of murder, not manslaughter, the prosecutor told a murder trial jury yesterday.
While Buckley had claimed his partner, Leah Ingham, was the aggressor on the night she died, he had inflicted a catalogue of injuries upon her while he himself had been left with a few scratches, prosecutor Simon Medland said in his closing speech.
It was a case of murder, nor manslaughter, he said, after he lost control and battered her, literally leaving blood up the walls.
Mr Medland said it was not fair to brand her as a hopeless heroin addict and there was no evidence for that.
He had showed her nothing but contempt and murdered her in a sustained and violent attack as their children slept upstairs.
Buckley, 41, denies murdering Miss Ingham and the jury is expected to retire to consider its verdict tomorrow.
Mr Medland said at about 8pm on Sunday, February 7, Heather Harvey watched as her daughter Leah Ingham went into her home in Montgomery Road, Wrexham.
They had spent a happy family day together from about 2pm. They had lunch, played in the garden, chatted and spent some valuable family time together.
“As she watched Leah walk in to that house she, of course, did not know that she would never see her alive again,” said Mr Medland.
Over the next three hours or so an argument developed when Buckley accused her – quite wrongly as it transpired – of having heroin.
A struggle began and Buckley used significant and sustained unlawful violence against her.
“Again and again he punched her, one at least, on his own admission, with full force.
“He headbutted her at least twice,” said Mr Medland.
Either because of that, or more likely because he pushed her with sufficient force onto the television stand, she sustained a gaping wound to the forehead between the eyes.
He held her around the throat causing bruising deep down.
She bled profusely. Blood had accumulated in the back of the throat, she inhaled blood into her lungs, there was bleeding around the brain.
Buckley, who said he repeatedly told her to stop fighting with him, simply had some finger nail scratches to the head, under the eye and nostril and some reddening around the neck.
“The incontrovertible evidence shows that whatever struggle Leah was able to put up, it cannot have been much against him,” said Mr Medland.
“He may have a few minor scratches but Leah Ingham is dead.”
Buckley claimed to have found drugs on her, said he consumed them all, leaving no trace of them in the house.
“Despite his repeated plea that he was motivated by a righteous anger about her taking heroin, what he cannot escape is that there was none that night.” Blood analyses showed that neither of them had taken any.
The picture Buckley painted of her as a hopeless, unreliable drug addict, undoing all his good work, was not fair or accurate, Mr Medland said.
While he claimed he had found small bags of drugs left around the house where the children might pick them up, Mr Medland said there was no evidence of that sort of lifestyle.
“The house seems well cared for, the children clothed and fed.”
When it suited him, Buckley painted her as a heroin whore.
Despite the kindness Miss Ingham had shown him, enabling him to stay off heroin, he showed her nothing but contempt, aggression and a sustained pattern of domineering behaviour, said Mr Medland.
Miss Ingham had unsuccessfully tried to fight him off. She might have been a little taller than him but she was nowhere near as strong.
“Her own terrible and fatal injuries speak louder that anything else as to the real nature and extent of the attack,” he said.
“He now says he should not be convicted of murder because he did not intend to kill her or cause her really serious harm,” said Mr Medland but he asked what else could be have intended given the battering she had received?
Buckley also put forward another defence, that of diminished responsibility.
It may well be that he had a personality disorder but Mr Medland said it was not such an abnormality of mind that should reduce his responsibility from murder to manslaughter.
Mr Medland said: “Having lost his temper, he launched a sustained and violent attack upon her. He caused her really serious injuries. She died from those injuries.
“In truth, he murdered her,” said Mr Medland.
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