Wiltshire

Baseball bat murder trial: Man denies causing death

Paul Mills Image copyright Family handout/Wiltshire Police
Image caption Paul Mills died 11 years after he was beaten about the head with a metal baseball bat

A man has gone on trial accused of the murder of a former soldier who died 11 years after he was attacked with a baseball bat.

Paul Mills suffered brain injuries in the attack by Neil Sutherland in Wiltshire in 2006.

He died in March 2017 from a seizure brought on by injuries sustained in the assault, Salisbury Crown Court heard.

Mr Sutherland, 35, was jailed for four years for grievous bodily harm in 2007 but denies murder.

The jury was told he pleaded guilty to the GBH offence but denies being responsible for the victim's subsequent death.

The men had met up in a lay-by in Southwick, Trowbridge, in July 2006, to discuss the sale of the metal baseball bat.

William Moseley QC, prosecuting, said Mr Mills "slapped" the defendant who then hit Mr Mills about the head with the bat "several times".

'Confused and disorientated'

The victim suffered a fractured skull and brain damage which brought on epileptic seizures until his death.

He died, aged 44, at his home in Heytesbury, near Warminster, on 2 March 2017.

Pathologists concluded there was a link from the assault to his death and said his brain damage was caused by considerable force "consistent with being hit with a bat".

James Newton-Price, defending, described it as "an unusual case" due to the time that has passed.

He said there is "no dispute" his client hit Mr Mills and fractured his skull but said he was acting in self-defence and did not mean to cause "serious harm".

He added Mr Sutherland, of Kyte Way, Trowbridge, has a mild learning disability and his ability to correctly assess the situation when he felt threatened by Mr Mills was hindered by his "low intelligence".

Mr Newton-Price also suggested Mr Mills' previous abuse of drugs and alcohol may have contributed to his sudden death.

The trial continues.

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