Amanda Sorrell 'murdered in merciless attack'

Death scene at Stoke Climsland
Image caption Amanda Sorrell's body was found at her house

A woman was battered to death in her own home in Cornwall in a "brutal and merciless" attack, a court has heard.

The body of Amanda Sorrell, 55, was found at her cottage in Stoke Climsland after she failed to turn up for work at Cornwall Council in September 2010.

Her married lover, John O'Rourke, bludgeoned her with two ornaments, leaving her "unrecognisable", Truro Crown Court heard.

Mr O'Rourke, 66, from Milton Abbot, near Tavistock in Devon, denies murder.

The court heard that Mr O'Rourke, who lived with his mentally ill and housebound wife, had met Ms Sorrell in 2005 and an initial friendship had progressed into a relationship.

'How many strikes?'

On Monday, 27 September 2010, Ms Sorrell was due to attend a meeting in Bodmin with colleagues at the Cornwall Registration Service, but when she did not arrive her concerned work mates called 999.

One colleague, a former police inspector called Suzanne Brown, went to her cottage and after seeing her purse and dog inside she broke in.

She found Mr O'Rourke lying naked next to a half-naked Ms Sorrell in a blood-soaked bedroom, having used a kitchen knife to try to commit suicide, the court heard.

He was taken by air ambulance to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and arrested in hospital.

The jury of seven men and five women heard that a post-mortem examination found 27 separate injury sites on the body of Ms Sorrell.

Prosecutor Paul Dunkels QC said: "How many times was she struck to the face and the head? There were so many injuries it is impossible to say how many blows struck her."

The court heard that Mr O'Rourke said he did not remember attacking on her.

The trial continues.

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