Dead soldier had neck injuries

Cpl Geoffrey McNeill (below) was found dead at Clive Barracks
Cpl Geoffrey McNeill (below) was found dead at Clive Barracks
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Neck injuries on a Blackpool soldier who died at his barracks in Shropshire were caused by a sustained pressure, a court has heard.

Dr Alexander Kolar, a Home Office pathologist, said there were a “number of areas of bruising” on the neck of Corporal Geoffrey McNeill, who was found dead at Clive Barracks, in Tern Hill, earlier this year.

Cpl Geoffrey McNeill

Cpl Geoffrey McNeill

Dr Kolar, who inspected Cpl McNeill’s body after his death, told Birmingham Crown Court that the bruising was “extensive” and that the injuries suffered were of a blunt force nature where “pressure is sustained”.

He said there were 78 visible surface injuries on Cpl McNeill’s body.

Lance Corporal Richard Farrell is accused of murdering Cpl McNeill, from North Shore, in his room at Clive Barracks on March 8.

Giving evidence, Dr Kolar said: “There were a number of areas of bruising to the muscular of the neck.

“In terms of the nature and extent it is widespread to the neck muscles.

“It is pretty extensive bruising.”

He said the injuries were of a blunt force nature where “pressure is sustained”.

Dr Kolar also said there were three fractures to bones in the neck which are located close to the larynx, or Adam’s apple.

On his inspection of the body he said there was congestion and hyper stasis in the head and neck area, which is the pooling of blood after a body has died.

But he said congestion occurs in a living state when blood struggles to leave an area of the body.

He also described the abrasions – or marks on the skin surface – and bruising on the head, face, neck, chest, back, private parts, arms, hands and legs of Cpl McNeill.

The jury also heard from Dr Saleem Ali, a psychologist who interviewed Farrell in custody at Shrewsbury Police Station on March 9.

He said he found no evidence of mental health problems or illness.

The jury at Birmingham Crown Court has heard from the prosecution that Cpl McNeill was brutally and violently beaten before his death.

The prosecution say that Cpl McNeill suffered blows to the head, stomach and groin, although the cause of his death was “significant” pressure to the neck which fractured three vertebrae.

Farrell and Cpl McNeill had been out drinking in Market Drayton, which resulted in Farrell being punched by Cpl McNeill at the Sandbrook Vaults in the town’s Shropshire Street.

The prosecution has said Farrell could have attacked and killed Cpl McNeill as revenge.

Farrell denies murder.