Errol McGowan inquest
Doctor shames police
By Hassan Mahamdallie
A TOP pathologist has attacked Telford police’s alleged assumption that Errol McGowan hanged himself. Dr Nat Carey, called by the coroner on Friday of last week as an expert witness to give evidence at Errol’s inquest, said that he would “leave open the possibility of third party involvement” in the black 34 year old’s suspicious death.
Carey also said that it was possible that Errol had been unconscious, or even dead, before a noose had been put round his neck. Errol was found hanged from a doorknob on 2 July 1999 at a house in Telford. The inquest into his death has been hearing witnesses through this month and is due to end in two weeks.
Carey also told the inquest that Errol might have been forced to put the noose round his neck by unknown persons. Given the racist death threats made to Errol in the run-up to his death, Carey commented that “this scenario [that Errol was murdered] has to be given credibility if there are other aspects to this case”.
Carey was also surprised to hear that the autopsy carried out under police instruction had not included an examination for bruising under the skin of Errol’s back and arms where someone might have grabbed him. Carey said that he considered such a procedure in the circumstances as routine. Carey said this lack of investigation meant that “we can’t be certain that he [Errol] showed no sign of restraint”.
All this led to Carey concluding that he could not say, as other experts had done, that Errol had definitely died by hanging. All he could say was that he had died through “compression of the neck”. Carey also pointed out that it was not unusual for murders to be concealed as suicides.
Asked by the McGowan’s lawyer Peter Herbert how the police should have treated Errol’s death, Carey replied, “I would expect it to be handled as a full-blown suspicious death.”
He said that the police on the scene should have sealed off the house, and officers wearing protective clothing, gloves, white suits and a mask should have carried out a full forensic examination. Earlier in the day DNA expert Dr Jonathon Whittaker had expressed “concern” when told by Herbert that the police had allegedly failed to “glove up” when examining the death scene.
Dr Nat Carey’s testimony differed from evidence widely reported in the press earlier last week to the inquest by Home Office forensic scientist Roger Ide, who argued that Errol’s death was not murder.
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