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23rd June, 2015. Bradford Coroners' Court: death by a single shot to the head
The human side of a Coroner's Court was brought poignantly to life this afternoon when the distraught mother of the deceased left the Inquest into her son's death rather than watch forensic video evidence of her son's home immediately after his death. Mr N. A. Cameron, the Coroner, had asked whether she would like to stay, and she had said, yes. In the event before the video began she broke down in tears, saying, "I cannot do this."
The video footage blurred images of attending police and of the deceased's body.
Earlier the home office pathologist had told the Court the deceased, Colin David Berry, would have lost consciousness within seconds, making a convincing case in her evidence for this assertion by her description of the bullet's entry point and pathway through the brain. The bullet remained in the cranial cavity.
A small amount of ampthetamine, roughly a fifth of what would have been a fatal dose, was found in Mr Berry's blood. There were no other illegal substances, nor prescription medication.
The Court heard forensic testimony that from one blood sample there is no way to tell how long the amphetamine had been in the body. The coroner sought to clarify whether one could tell whether the amphetamine concentration was building or diminishing in the blood stream. Counsel present included Mr Davies QC for the chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and Mr McGuinness for the deceased's mother. The inquest continues tomorrow. Helen Gavaghan, editor Science, People & Politics.