South West Wales

Swansea landlord's skull 'hit from behind', trial hears

Alec Warburton (left) and David Ellis
Image caption Alec Warburton (left) and David Ellis

A pathologist has told a jury a man killed by his lodger appeared to have been attacked from behind with a weapon "delivered with considerable force".

David Craig Ellis, 41, is accused of murdering Alec Warburton, 59, in July at a house in Sketty, Swansea.

Dr Brian Rodgers told Swansea Crown Court there were three major skull defects on Mr Warburton's head but no sign of any defensive injuries.

Mr Ellis has admitted manslaughter but denies murder.

Dr Rodgers, a consultant forensic Home Office pathologist, said Mr Warburton had a number of fractures as well as the three injuries to the skull.

The jury was shown an image of Mr Warburton's skull.

Dr Rodgers said: "I was of the view that these injuries were caused by the head of a hammer."

He added that the injuries were "fairly focused".

Dr Rodgers also told the court all the injuries he found on Mr Warburton's body were at the back of the head.

He said he was not able to find any defensive injuries, which he said would suggest Alec Warburton was attacked from behind, but he could not be sure of this.

'Died very rapidly'

Dr Rodgers said: "Considerable force was used to punch a hole in the skull. I would think consciousness was lost almost immediately. A hole that large in the head is incompatible with life."

He added the victim would have "died very rapidly".

The court also heard Mr Warburton's body was found heavily decomposed at the bottom of a 30m (98ft)-deep quarry near to the village of Dolwyddelan in north Wales on 20 September 2015.

Statements were read to the jury on behalf of some officers of North Wales Police who assisted in the recovery of the body, as well as members of the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team.

In their evidence, reference was made to an area of fencing near to the quarry which appeared to have been "disturbed" or "tampered" with fairly recently.

The trial continues.

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