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23/05/96 - Post mortem of Patrick TATE, Anthony TUCKER and Craig ROLFE

PGJ/PD/71/S/95

23rd May 1996

At 9.47am on Wednesday 13th December 1995 in the Mortuary of Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow, I performed post mortem examinations on the bodies of:

Patrick TATE, Anthony TUCKER and Craig ROLFE

All three deceased were identified to me by P.C. Parfrey. In addition I was able to examine the photographs relating to post mortem examinations performed on 8.12.95 by Dr. P. Lannas at the Chelmsford and Essex Hospital Mortuary.

Those present included:

D.I. Hughes
D.S. Holloway
D.S. Moran
D.C. King

I examined Patrick TATE (aged 37 years) first.

The body was that of a very well built male 6' in height.

There were routine scalp, neck and trunk post mortem incisions and suturing. Post mortem staining was present on the front and back of the body. Early decomposition changes were present including marbling of the lower limbs and hands.

Tattoos were present on both arms, both sides of the upper chest and a large tattoo on the back. There was a 9cm surgical scar over the left side of the pelvis. There was a 19 and a half cm wide scar on the palm side of the right forearm, a 17cm linear scar on the outer forearm and a 4 and a half cm scar above near the outer elbow. A 15cm scar over the back of the lower half of the left thigh. Small old scars on the front of the right shoulder and around the right 4th and 5th finger knuckles.

EXTERNAL INJURIES

Head & Neck

1. Blood present in both ears.

2. Bruising of the right upper eyelid with 2cm by 1cm and 2 and a half cm by 1 and a half cm purple areas outside and above the right eye. A further half a cm purple area positioned 5cms above the outer eyebrow. There was reddening of the upper half of the right eye sclera and bruising of the upper conjunctival surface.

3. A 8 and a half cm by 1.5cm deep grooved graze on the back of the scalp positioned above the occiput and directed downwards to the right. There were irregular edges and there were pellet marks at the lower end.

4. A 7 and a half cm by 5 and a half cm stellate shotgun entrance wound positioned to the left and behind the top of the left ear. There were pellet marks at the lower edge of the wound.

Chest & Abdomen

5. A shotgun entrance wound 6cms by 4 and a half cms with surrounding grazing in the right side of the chest positioned 21cms to the right of midline and 148cms above the heel. There was an 8cm diameter patchy purplish area above the wound between 12 and 3 o'clock. The track was directed upwards. There were fractures to the 6th to 9th ribs and laceration to the front of the right lobe of the liver. Pellet injuries were present in the soft tissues surrounding.

Left Arm

6. Two 0.2cm grazes to the thumb side back of the wrist with five dot grazes below.

7. An 8cm by 3cm area of dot abrasion at the base of the thumb, between thumb and forearm and base of the forearm.

8. A 0.3cm graze beyond the second knuckle of the middle finger.

9. A 5cm by 0.5cm curved petechial line below the armpit.

Fingernails had been clipped.

Right Arm

10. A 9 and a half cm by 0.4cm red/blue bruise over the front lower third of the upper arm and front of the elbow joint.

Left Leg

11. Grazes 0.5cm and 0.5cm on the lower outer third of the thigh.

Right Leg

12. A 1cm dried graze on the upper third of the shin.

INTERNAL EXAMINATION

Scalp:
Deep bruising around shotgun entrance wound and over the right side of the back.

Skull:
Multiple bone fragments beneath shotgun entrance wound. The skull was comminuted. The sagittal suture was separated over the posterior two thirds and lateral fractures either side of the top and base of the skull. The cheek bones and lower orbits were intact.

Brain & Meninges:
There was extensive destruction of the brain with pellets still present within the cerebral tissue. Cerebral vessel sections were normal.

Neck Structures:
Hyoid bone and laryngeal cartilages intact. There were patchy bruises less than half a cm size in the middle of the tongue.

Respiratory System:
Defect in rib cage right side 7th to 9th ribs and fractured 6th rib. Left lung weighed 375 grams, right lung 390 grams. Blood present in airways and patchy haemorrhages on sectioned surface. Bronchial tree healthy. Pulmonary arteries patent.

Cardiovascular System:
Pericardium healthy. Heart size 390 grams. The coronary arteries showed deposits of atheroma patchily distributed, up to 50% occlusion. Left ventricle appeared hypertrophied. Pale myocardium. Valves normal. Aorta uninjured. Great veins normal.

Gastrointestinal System:
Oesophagus normal. Blood on stomach mucosal surface. Duodenum and intestines normal. Liver injury as stated, weighed 1505 grams. Generally pale on sectioning. Gall bladder no stones. Pancreas intact. Light brown in colour. Normal on dissection.

Genito-Urinary System:
Left kidney 165 grams, right 160 grams. Smooth cortices. Normal pelves and ureters. Bladder empty. Prostate and generative organs normal.

Spleen & Lymph Nodes:
Spleen weighed 175 grams. Softened. No enlarged or diseased nodes.

Endocrines:
Adrenal and thyroid glands normal. Pituitary lacerated.

CONCLUSIONS

1. The body was that of a very well built male 6' in height, with no evidence of natural disease to account for his death.

2. There were two shotgun wounds, one to the head and one to the chest which were from close range.

3. There were injuries to the upper limbs but these seemed unlikely to have been caused by shotgun discharge including pellets.

4. I give as the Cause of Death:

1a. Shotgun wounds to head and chest

I then examined Anthony TUCKER (aged 38 years).

The body was that of a very well built male 5' 11" in height.

Routine previous post mortem incisions and suturing were present. There was purplish post mortem staining on the front and back of the body. Decomposition changes were present including green staining of the abdomen, marbling and distended soft tissues of the scrotum and penis. The face was collapsed.

EXTERNAL INJURIES

Head & Neck

1. Positioned 6 and a half cm behind the right ear lower half there was a shotgun entrance wound measuring 5cms by 4 and a half cms. There was a grazed lower edge and split upper edge.

2. A 4.2cm by 4cm shotgun wound defect with grazed edges in front of the right ear. Its back edge was 2 and a half cms in front of the ear. There was a 1.6 by 1cm grazed area above.

3. Positioned below wound 2 towards the angle of the lower jaw there was a 6 and a half cm by 4cm shotgun wound.

4. Bruising of inner left eye, fainter on the upper eyelid.

5. Patchy bruising of the right eyelids.

6. Grazes 0.5cm and 0.2cm on the inner right eye.

7. A 0.4cm linear graze to the left side bridge of the nose. On the left side of the nose a 3cm and 1cm area of linear grazing. On the left side a 5cm linear interrupted graze.

Left Arm

8. Several minor scuff grazes over a 2cm area above the elbow.

Right Arm

9. A parchmented type graze 3 and a half cms by 1 and a half cms above the back of the elbow with fine scuff grazes surrounding.

No injuries to legs.

INTERNAL EXAMINATION

Scalp:
Bruising associated with the external wounds.

Skull:
Extensive destruction of the skull including its base.

Brain & Meninges:
Extensive damage to the dura mater and brain particularly the base of the brain. Cerebral vessel sections appeared healthy.

Facial Structures:
Extensive destruction of the right side of the base with brain and pellets still present. There was destruction of the upper teeth and most of the lower teeth. Pellets were present in a bruised lacerated tongue.

Neck Structures:
Fractured right side cervical vertebrae. Fractures to the right superior thyroid cartilage and right side of the hyoid.

Respiratory System:
A large amount of blood throughout the airways. Left lung weighed 365 grams, right lung 480 grams. Congestion and oedema of both lungs which showed gas formation from decomposition. Pulmonary arteries patent.

Cardiovascular System:
Pericardium healthy. Heart size 420 grams. The left ventricle was hypertrophied. Decomposition changes present with gas formation. Coronary arteries contained very little atheroma. Valves normal. Aorta contained very little atheroma and intact. Great veins normal.

Gastrointestinal System:
Oesophagus normal. Stomach empty. Mucosa normal. Intestines normal. Liver weighed 1500 grams. Pale on sectioning. Gas formation from decomposition. Gall bladder contained gas from decomposition. No stones. Ducts normal. Pancreas intact, soft and light brown in colour on dissection.

Genito-Urinary System:
Left kidney 250 grams, right 115 grams. Almost horseshoe type left kidney. Very pale smooth cortices to both. Decomposition changes present. Bladder empty. Prostate and generative organs normal.

Spleen & Lymph Nodes:
Spleen weighed 160 grams. Soft and gas formation from decomposition. No enlarged or diseased lymph nodes.

Endocrines:
Thyroid and adrenal glands normal. Destruction of pituitary gland.

CONCLUSIONS

1. The body was that of a very well built male 5' 11" in height, with no evidence of natural disease to account for his death.

2. There were three shotgun wounds to the head which were consistent with close range.

3. There were injuries to both arms but these were not typical of defence type injuries.

4. In my opinion the Cause of Death was:

1a. Shotgun wounds to head

Finally I examined Craig ROLFE (aged 26 years).

The body was that of a well nourished male 5' 9" in height.

Decomposition change was present in the form of marbling. Purplish post mortem staining present on the front and back of the body. Green staining of the lower abdomen and either side of the chest. There was a tattoo of 'CR' at the outer aspect of the top of the left shoulder and a tattoo of 'MUM' on the right shoulder blade. There were several scars present on both arms, some circular and several linear.

EXTERNAL INJURIES

Head & Neck

The face and skull had been distorted by the injuries and post mortem examination. I found the following defects:

1. A shotgun entrance wound on the right side of the scalp just above and behind the top of the right ear. It was almost circular in shape and measured between 4cms and 5cms in diameter.

2. A 6cm by 3 and a half cm shotgun entrance wound with dried edges and pellet holes surrounding except between the 5 and 7 clock face positions. The wound extended from in front of the right ear to below above the angle of the lower jaw. There were 4 and a half cm by 2 and a half cm, 5cm linear and 4.5cm by 1.2cm dried grazed areas extending downwards towards the right side of the neck.

3. A split in the skin over and above the nose 6.2cms by 3cms with bruising radiating to both eyes. This wound was typical of a shotgun exit wound.

4. A 3 and a half cm split in the 10 to 4 clock position gaping at the outer aspect of the left eye.

5. A 3.2cm split behind the left ear.

6. Blood was present in both ears.

Left Arm

7. A 5.6 by 0.3cm linear area of circular dried grazes tapering upwards from the front of the mid upper arm. There was a 3cm diameter yellow bruise at the upper limit.

8. Below and outside injury 7 there was a 5 and a half cm linear healed scabbed mark at the outer front of the elbow joint.

9. A 1.2cm by 0.3cm dried scab at the base of the ring finger.

10. A 16cm curved dotted healing linear graze inside the elbow and on the lower forearm.

Right Arm

11. A 0.4cm linear graze and 0.4cm diameter graze on the inner aspect of the forefinger knuckle.

Fingernails had been trimmed on both hands.

INTERNAL EXAMINATION

Scalp:
Bruising associated with external wounds. Marked destruction of skull both vault and base.

Brain & Meninges:
Extensive laceration to meninges and brain with pellets present within substance.

Facial Structures:
Destruction of most of facial skeleton, greatest on right side with separation of right lower jaw.

Neck Structures:
Extensive damage to the right side neck structures. Fractures to the right side of the cervical vertebrae with associated bruising.

Respiratory System:
Rib cage intact. Early decomposition changes to both lungs. Left lung 510 grams, right lung 490 grams. Blood throughout air passages. Congestion and oedema of sectioned surfaces. Pulmonary arteries patent.

Cardiovascular System:
Pericardium healthy. Heart size 430 grams. Coronary arteries, valves and myocardium were normal. There was left ventricular hypertrophy. Aorta and great veins intact.

Gastrointestinal System:
Oesophagus stomach and intestines normal. Liver weighed 1800 grams. Pale external and cut surfaces. Gall bladder gas formation. Ducts normal. Pancreas intact. Cut surface light brown and soft from decomposition.

Genito-Urinary System:
Left kidney 120 grams, right 130 grams. Pale smooth subcapsular surfaces. Decomposition changes present. Pelves and ureters normal. Bladder empty. Prostate and generative organs normal.

Spleen & Lymph Nodes:
Spleen weighed 270 grams. Soft and early decomposition changes present. No enlarged or diseased lymph nodes.

Endocrlnes:
Adrenals and thyroid glands normal. Pituitary destroyed.

CONCLUSIONS

1. Craig ROLFE was a well nourished male 5' 9" in height, with no evidence of natural disease to account for his death.

2. There were two shotgun wounds to the head which were consistent with being fired from close range.

3. There was no evidence of defence type Injuries.

4. In my opinion the Cause of Death was:

1a. Shotgun wounds to head

Peter Graham JERREAT, M.B., B.S., B.Sc., D.M.J.(Path),
Home Office Pathologist,
Pathologist to H.M. Coroner for North Kent,
Senior Forensic Medical Examiner to the City of London Police
Metropolitan Police Forensic Medical Examiner.

Contact : bernard.omahoney@bernardomahoney.com
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